I was having a conversation with a friend last night about my motivations to write. Her question was why I felt the need to do something creative - writing, music, etc. - instead of becoming very successful in my particular business realm. The question immediately pissed me off, which is why I knew it was a good one. Why did I feel the need to pursue such a treacherous and often fatal (metaphorically speaking, hopefully) field? Entertainment in any form is a difficult thing to master, and capturing the fickle attention of the public long enough to get them to pull their wallets out is nigh upon impossible. Oh yeah, I just used the word nigh. You're welcome.
So why do it? There are plenty of reasons why not to do it, and as helpful as blogging agents' advice can be, I get the sneaking suspicion that they're telling 99.9% of us to stop sending them so much crazy (rest assured, gentle reader, I actually do house the spirit of JFK, and he's ready to tell all!). Competition is fierce, and there are a lot of excellent debut authors coming out with new books all the time (hi, Lisa and Laura!). Writing, editing, and querying takes years of work, and even then you may never get an agent or editor interested enough to bite. Most writers will tell you that when you think you should give up, send out another query, and I've seen the concept on more than one blog that you're not a real writer unless you never know how to give up.
I thought about it long and hard, gentle reader, and the margarita I had for dinner wasn't making it easy. But eventually its sweet cathartic effects wore off and I came up with this theory: putting something creative out there, that belongs completely to me, is my way of proving I existed. We're all flesh and blood and prone to the effects of time, which means that someday we'll be, as JT and TI put so eloquently, dead and gone. But creative endeavors survive such shortcomings to last generations past the creator. Now, I'm no Homer or Francis Scott Key (write a national anthem, genius! Botswana, I'm looking at you), but leaving that piece of me behind, even if only for my own family, proves that I was an entity unto myself and that I had a story to tell. That story might have been completely made up, but I think every writer recognizes that they put elements of themselves into everything they create. I would give anything to have something like that from my own familial past.
So there you have it. For better or worse, richer or poorer, awesome or less awesome, that is why I write.