Sometimes—no, often—writing is much harder than my day job. And it doesn't pay nearly as well. Okay, it doesn't really pay at all right now. So, why do I do it? I spend all this time and energy—and blood, sweat, and tears—on an activity that produces very little measurable worth.
The easy, pat answer is that I write because I love it. And, while that is true, it doesn't begin to cover why I write. I'm not sure I can really articulate it, even though words are my tools of trade. But I'll try.
I write because it's the only time I can truly and fully be myself. While I'm creating fiction, I am the most truthful. Woven into the made up worlds and characters is the most honesty I can articulate. My characters can say things I could never say and, while I don't always agree with everything they say and do, there is ever an undercurrent of my most authentic, genuine self.
I write because it's an outlet for my deepest feelings. When my parents broke up, I wrote poetry. When I fell in love, I wrote poetry. When I lost my mother to cancer, I wrote poetry. In everything in my life that has affected me deeply, writing has been there: a sympathetic ear and a shoulder to cry on.
I write because I must. In some ways, writing is a partner, a significant other, a best friend. If I don't write, I'm betraying one of the closest relationships I've ever had. I don't always want to write, but I have to write. It's not a choice for me.