I cannot really comment why people in general write, I have very little experience with writers other than myself, but I would like to say a few things about why I write.
I certainly write to be read. But for me, my most important reader is myself. As I write, I also keep reading what I am writing. Part of my head is composing sentences and another part of it is constantly blabbering – oh yes, this is wonderful or come on, you can’t pass of that kind of crap as a story! This reader in me is the most important reader to me.
Which is not to say that other readers are not important. It is just that I don’t listen to them as often as I do to myself. But I do like to know what they think about my stories or other writings. I may not often agree with what they say, especially when it comes to matters of style. However, it really excites me to hear their mind. In fact, the most exciting part of the entire story writing process is not writing itself but sending it out to people and getting their responses!
Writing thus becomes a medium of expression and also that of self discovery. Often there is something that I wish to say and usually I find my stories the best way to say that thing. A little less often than that, a story would stem from the dilemmas and conflicts that I may be experiencing at that time. It is then that self discovery occurs. When I write, I try to be as honest as possible. And that honesty is not to my readers, although it may spill over, sometimes. The honestly is to myself -- the self of mine that is also the reader. And when one is honest in this manner, one discovers things about oneself that one had chosen to ignore.