--to make a difference in someone's life;
--to be published, have a degree of fame;
--because I must, I can, I want to, I love it;
--because it became a habit as necessary as breathing or
eating, because I live;
--because I have stories in my head that must come out
Other reasons given for writing were:
krist3ng: because there are certain types of stories I like, certain kinds of main characters, and I have trouble finding them represented in already-published fiction.
edgewritermom: because I like to write. Sometimes I even write well, and it's a shame to do something well but not try to get better at it. Otherwise, you get rusty. If a person wants to get better at something, s/he needs to practice. NaNoWriMo is one big month-long practice writing session. Also, I'm of an age when I need to try new, different, and especially hard things on a regular basis.
friesaregood: because one of the best things in the world is finding the right string of words, the words that go together and just make you think, "That's beautiful." So, I don't write for the sake of getting stories out there, or relieving stress, or creating my own private worlds. I write so I can get feedback, and so I can have the knowledge that I wrote something good. It's how I boost my ego.
Soulless: because it is the only thing that is mine...when everything else can be snatched away, no one can snatch the words you place on here, because even if they claim it's theirs, it's never really theirs.
Sashataakheru: because imagination is a mysteriously and awesomely powerful thing
Lynnafred: because it's...a way to get away from whatever was bothering me...I would work out a solution in my own way--through my characters' eyes, and through their own battles; it would always help me try to find a reasonable solution to my own problems.
Hanabi no Enigma: because I like to say something I think is funny or awesome or chilling; because if I don't do it now, when will I?
libby1861: because writing makes me want to live and get inspired and experience new things. It gives me control over something and it gives me a place to leave my ideas behind...It's necessary, important, and freeing.
Aliteratus: because it's what I am most passionate about and because it's my way of communicating to the world. Nothing makes me feel like I matter as much as writing does. It's simply the thing that I do best, so I have to do it.
Sakatsu: because these are the things that will be left after I'm dead...My art, words, music and photography--everything I do is in some way trying to preserve the idea I want to portray--to make a difference in another's life for the better.
Amanda Fair: because it's fun, it's escapism at it's purest, and because it honest-to-goodness makes me happy.
severeannoyance: because...finding out that I could tell stories was the best thing that has ever happened to me.
[anonymous]: because I think I have something to say in a different way than has been said before; because it usually makes me happy; because it is art, it's an expression of my spirit.
Alt-world: because I have a story I want to tell and the words keep escaping from my head, down my arms, through my fingertips, and onto the keyboard.
End-of-Eternity: because I can begin in a genre/formula that people are comfortable with, then slowly take them somewhere else. I write because I want to one day be published and hear someone say, "Oh, yeah, she's doing something different." I write because I have something to say, and some things can't be expressed through speaking.
Elegy: because it gives me the oppportunity to offer you my views and opinions and let you decide if they're important to you, if they matter. It also gives me the very small and unlikely chance to become rich and famous.
elentari: I write for myself first, for the sake of telling the story and the escapism of the process...Mostly, though, for the satisfaction of seeing my story on paper and being able to think, "I wrote that." If a piece makes someone smile or cry, creeps them out, hooks them in and gets them turning pages, or just makes them feel something, then I count it a success.
stephen_g: I used to write a lot...in high school, and when I could in university...Eventually, as I switched from university to college...my writing dropped off a bit. As I transitioned into a full-time job, I didn't write at all...[other than] private journaling. I'm writing because my fiancée is encouraging me to use the creative gift I've let stagnate for far too long.
Gewher: [because] I want people to look back at the writings of this era in history and be inspired. And it would be very nice if my writings were among history books and artifacts...other than that, it's the pleasure that only something requiring hard work, dedication, and self-discipline can bring a person.
Astonished Lemons: because I've got a heck of a lot of random ideas in my head, and they never stop making more. Writing them down is the only way to...flush them out...[and] figure out where they go. The only thing worse then an idea rattling around in your head uninvited is a half-finished idea rattling around in there.
David Brynham: because I owe a debt to so many people in this world. My life has been filled with so many interesting experiences, so many unusual people, that it would be an insult to them if I could not give them some faint tribute on paper.
em56: because it's fun to create characters, and settings, and really a whole little world of your own. I like the challenge of trying to craft something good to read...[and] because I would someday like an audience to read my books...I would be lying, plain and simple, if I said wanting some level of fame wasn't at least a small factor.
pencilcase: because it's my own space. Nobody can tell me what to do...What I do with it is my own business.
Somnia: because it feels more natural than not writing...I have never gotten tired of it...This is something I can do, whether I do it well or not, no one can take it from me. Other people may enjoy it or not, but it gives me a sense of zen and completeness that I don't get from anything else.
mmannm5: I write in the hope of making readers FEEL something: pain, longing, happiness, giddy. That's what makes me love books, and I want everyone to love books...And it's what makes people remember them.
sushimustwrite: [because] there are stories ideas and abstractions living in my head. Without writing, they'd just be trapped...with no escape, and I'd be there too, wondering how to break free. Committing the ideas to paper means I won't be committed.
DBR: because I love language, and words are the building blocks of language. Words are the means of conveying our thoughts and ideas, and creating stories that entertain, teach, provoke, ignite discussion, inflame passion. I love their variety, their potential for precision or vagueness, deception or veracity. Words can paint a picture as detailed and beautiful as any artist ever painted on canvas. They dance across the page and stimulate the mind to create the visual images they describe, a mental motion. Through writing, as with reading, I can travel back and forth in time, go anywhere in the world (or in other worlds), can be anything, do anything. I'm not limited by my physical body, finances, modes of transportation, schedules or responsibilities. In fact, the only limit is what my imagination can create.
Thanks to everyone who responded to my request and gave permission to be quoted. I regret not being able to include everyone, but I appreciate each one of you.