This week's question, courtesy of CrescentLizzy, is: Who do we write for? Do we write for ourselves or do we write to impress others? Do we write to carry on stories that we think need to be carried on?
So three questions in one, but I'm going to answer the first two together. Primarily I write for me. If I'm not interested in an idea then I'm not going to want to spend time and effort in getting it down on paper, or on the computer screen. Sometimes I'll have an idea going round in my head that I need to write down before it drives me mad, or other times it's something that just develops out of nowhere when I'm writing something else, but all of my stories always start off being for me.
I'm doing a creative writing course with the OU at the moment, so some of my stories are also written for other people to read and mark. But they still start off as something I enjoy writing, or feel that I want to write about, even if the style or genre I'm being asked to write in isn't something I would have chosen myself.
Regarding the third question, sometimes once I've started I'll know I really want to finish a story but I won't know where it's going or how to do it. At that point, writing starts to become more hard work, and a few years ago this would probably have been the point at which I'd just give up and walk away from the story, but now, even if I know I'm not going to show the story to anyone, I try to finish them at least with an outline of a plot.
When I'm writing like this I'm still writing for me, but not for fun any more - now it's to develop my writing skills and push myself to work through writer's block or overcome style problems or things that don't fit. So I do write sometimes to carry on stories I think need to be finished, partly because I don't like leaving my characters dangling and partly because it's something I feel I should do to improve my writing.
But mainly I write for myself and I write for fun and as a bit of escapism :)