An old question, for sure, but have you really thought about it? Fame, fortune, both? Control of the world in some way? Ego? Leaving your mark?
Most of us began writing, or considered it, long before we knew there might be fame or fortune in it, so it has to be something more intrinsic. I'm convinced I do it to somehow leave my mark on the cave wall, because I don't want to be totally forgotten. I'm one of those people who want to live forever and can not understand how some accept their mortality. If I could live forever, I'd do it. The risk would be worth it, and you can always check out if you're not satisfied. And the time is coming when we will live indefinitely. Well, maybe not us, but our great grandchildren. But as important, if we knew we would live for a thousand years or more, would we still want to write, or be as passionate about it, as desperate to get words to paper? In a world of indefinite longevity social needs might be radically altered.
It's impossible to tell what one would want to do in the future.
As for now: I write because I love writing. I'm a story teller and a reader. I tell myself stories, too. It's a hugely entertaining activity.
So that's primary. The money, what there is of it, is a bonus. However, I have a strong sense of what my labor is worth. That's why I don't like to give it away just to get a top ranking.
Well, I've been writing for way over forty years, so I know the feeling. Except I have to write in the mornings, when writing at all. Can write only when alone in the house, except maybe for occasional notes or dialogue.Then I must do strenuous physical workouts or I feel I'm falling apart. Miss two days and it's as if I'm dying. I'll be 71 next month and have the energy level of a ten-year-old. That can be a down side at times.
Hah! Phenomenal! I'm also a morning writer, though hardly given tp strenuous workouts.
Interesting question Dan. I cannot speak for others, although I suspect many authors write for reasons you suggest. I have a friend whose room-mate actually gets depressed over the fact that he will not be remembered for all eternity. Sorry buddy, but I view this type of thinking as both arrogant and a waste of time. I could care less if I'm remembered. (I'm pretty sure I won't be.) I'm too busy trying to live and appreciate what I have now as well as the time I have left here. Basically, enjoy the gift of life. I myself am happy with the natural order of things. I believe we go on to something better...so why would I want to stick around here when something better beckons? We are tiny specs within our universe yet as a race we act as though we are Gods with like significance. I recently, read on the Internet that they have found out that people can now live forever through simple DNA splicing. However, that science is for a club we're not in people. The technology does exist. (I'm sure it can be goggled.)
As for why I write...I really think I write because I can. (Though my first book would beg to differ.) I wrote my first book in a need for recognition of what I had been forced to endure in my youth. So many in my family treated it as though it were nothing or didn't happen. So in 1990 I started to write about my experiences. I finished the book, "Breach of Destiny" in 1994 with no training or creative writing classes and I think it shows in that first book. Reason for writing this book - recognition for abuses I suffered.
Later in life, I had been watching the news on a daily basis and found almost everyday, someone was taking their own life. I never heard of any news stories of people helping them. The motivation for "Things I'll Miss When I'm Gone" was born. Reason for writing this book - To save lives.
About four years ago I found myself in a tough situation that I'm still in. So, I figured I'd write my way out of it. I thought long and hard about what might be successful? What would have mass appeal? The Mafia has traditionally done quite well with American audiences. However, only if the work was good, very good. Having been born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., I had a great deal of experience with such people. Watching the news one day as gangsters were being led away by F.B.I. agents, the idea of Mafia President came to me. Reason for writing this book - I really need the money.
I still have not taken a single class on writing of any kind but have found through self education and hard work, I've become a much better writer. I must admit, I love having great ideas come to me and creating stories out of them. In the end, there are many different reasons I write. Fame and immortality are not among them. This is not to say that people who do write for fame or to be remembered for all time are wrong for their feelings and reasoning. To each his own as the saying goes.
I hope you found my answer as interesting as your question Dan. I hope you achieve what you want.
Writing for therapy, fun and money. All good, too.
Yes...but you left out, writing to save lives.
You would need to read everything I wrote above, not some of it, to understand. Not to be rude...It is an assumption to think the only books I have written are on Amazon.
A. Long posts are hard on people who have to make a living.
B. Just as I thought: you write non-fiction. Non-fiction does indeed often have a specific outreach purpose. Memoirs are non-fiction, in my understanding.
C. I certainly did not imply your books are only on Amazon. (What difference does that make anyway?)
I write because I like to tell stories, I like figuring out how best to tell them, and I need some ongoing thing in my life to keep my attention focused. When I was a musician, it was my daily practice. Now i write.
I write because I need to write. I can no sooner stop writing than stop breathing. I have tried to quit, but always come back to it.
I was bullied a lot in my childhood and spent A LOT of time on my own. So I imagined stories to entertain me and to disassociate myself with the cruel world. Now I want it to be a career because I am so used to solitude that I crave it and I really hate having a boss. Nothing so high-minded as the often made statements I see to this question.