Why do writers write? The following, I think, captures the main reasons:
1. artistic expression
2. for the sheer pleasure of it
3. to share stories with others (and wisdom)
4. to explore universal truths
5. for profit or for fame
The latter reason, I think are considered by most as an additional benefit, with very few writers achieving a high turnover (reportedly £5 per second for J K Rowling) or spectacular fame. This is an even smaller number within the fantasy and sf circles. If you are lucky, then you’ll make enough to cover your credit bill and enjoy local celebrity status. Even more fortuitous are those who gain respect amongst their peers.
Artistic expression and writing for pleasure are often confused with each other. The assumption is that writing literary fiction is the only art form of writing. Some people write purely to express their inner-demons or to escape the confines of their own realities, whilst others endeavor to reach the pinnacle of imaginative description or characterization. The pleasure of writing comes from playing with words to create vivid descriptions, enthralling dialouge and captivating the imagination with amazing plots seemingly drawn from ‘the stuff that dreams of made of’.
Though some people who write just for their own pleasure, but many, like myself, feel unfulfilled until someone else reads it too. You tell yourself you don’t care what other people think, that you are thick skinned and can take criticism, but inside you are cringing, your spirit curling up like mangy dog expecting a beating.
I think perhaps the more pertinent question is how do you know you are a writer? If you wake up in the morning thinking about writing, spend every spare moment itching to grab a pen or get to your keyboard to write, lay awake in bed at night with storylines buzzing in your head, then you are a writer. Whether you’re any good is a different matter entirely.