It's funny that I don't actually think that much about why I write, but honestly I don't. I think about what I want to write, how I want to make my writing better, what I would like to happen with it, but why do I put myself through this? But this is the first part of the blog challenge I mentioned here so let's have at it.
I guess that fact that I don't think about it that much speaks to how deeply ingrained the compulsion is to keep doing this every day. The writing I do on a regular basis moves between two major types: My general thoughts about what is going on in my life where I used the writing to sort those thoughts out and make decision, and fiction which explores the the reality of nature and my relationship to that reality, which I suppose I use to help make my way in the world, but on a grander or more philosophical scheme.
I often encounter people who when asked how long they write they say something which amounts to basically when they learned to put letters on a page. With a few exceptions I feel this is just not really the case. My personal answer would be that while I have been making fictional stories for much of my adult life, I feel that I have only moved from making it an interest to a real solid pursuit in the last year or so. I can credit my wife being an English teacher as a big push to consider literature and writing more seriously, as well as reaching out to other people who write and having it become a more social part of my life and something that I am involved with on multiple levels every day. I don't just write, I talk to other people about it, I read their works in progress, I get jealous and on the better days I turn that jealousy into motivation. I attend writing events (and help host some, here's looking at you nanowrimo). So even when I am not writing myself at the moment, it is now a constant topic in my life.
My current work has changed immensely from its conception years ago. It started as a basic concept: an angel that feels helpless in his role and is on the verge of damnation, but for the right reasons. It now has taken that germ and become an exploration of religion in general (and in a large way particularly gnosticism) technology and how it shapes our thinking and beliefs, as well as a philosophical dive into the idea of creation, death, and how we deal with being small people in a very, very, big universe.
And the exploration of writing and reading has led me into some very interesting and strange places. I don't think I would have found somebody like my friend over at https://thewritingkennel.wordpress.com if I had not made such a big place for writing in my life. In the past I don't think I would have sought writers out and I certainly think that in my naivety I wouldn't have spent so much time talking to somebody who writes stories so far out of my chosen genres of science fiction and urban fantasy.
So I guess the answer is pretty simple now: I write because I have to, to help me make sense of this world, and to hopefully make people question their own relationship to this shared reality that we have all created. I am a writer because I write, yes, but also because it is something which has seeped into every aspect of my life, brought me friends, challenges, victories and heartache.
And I feel pretty damn good about that.
EDIT: One of the other writers participating in the challenge put together this OneTab link of all the participants so far. Check 'em out when you get a chance.