It's not a flippant question. Writing is hard work. It takes time. To become published is little more than a wild goose chase for most people. It requires patience and an endless capacity to deal with rejection. Even most published writers fail to make a living from it.
So why bother?
I can only answer for myself and my answer today may be different from my answer another day. Today I write because I choose to peddle that rarest and most addictive of drugs: hope. Life is a dangerous, uncertain proposition. Happy endings are the exception, rather than the rule. If you don't believe me, read the newspaper cover to cover or listen to CNN for a full day.
When I read, I choose to read stories in which characters move through adversity and into hope. I don't need the proverbial 'happily ever after' ending nor do I avoid stories in which unpleasant things happen. But I need to know the hero/heroine does not lose hope in the end.
I choose to write about characters who move through adversity and into hope. In fact, that is a basic theme of both my completed novels and the one currently in process. There's a reason I prefer "The Tempest" to "Othello". Both are complex works. In one, Shakespeare has his characters end with hope. In the other, the stage is littered with bodies.
Real life is littered with bodies. I don't need that in my reading.
Besides, writing is an act of faith and of hope. I write at home, usually when I'm alone and yet, there's a reader in my mind all the time. Maybe a multitude of readers. They are there just over the horizon and I am writing to tell them a story.
I am writing to share my belief that we can move through adversity and into hope.
Even if its only within the pages of a book.