Since I've been going to a writing group I am wondering what prompts people to write. Lots of people just want to write 'for themselves' or their family/posterity, rather than to make a career of it and earn money - the path I chose. I have always found it more rewarding to tailor my work to a market, rather than write whatever took my fancy.
But just because you are writing as therapy, to entertain yourself, or because you have something you are burning to express, doesn't mean that you don't care about the quality of your writing. On the contrary. I often find that writers who write for writing's sake are much more self-critical and emotional about their work than those of us who write with publication in mind. Why is this?
Maybe it's because professional writers know there is a tried-and-tested way to ensure that they are producing quality material that suits a particular market: they get paid for it! The self-expressionists don't have such surefire quality control. They rely on the opinions of others, which is always tricky because we can't help but be subjective to some degree in our response to someone else's writing.
I gave up trying to write poetry for the simple reason that I never knew when it was finished, or whether it was any good. I think I needed professional feedback and I never got it. When I decided to write professionally I knew that I had to submit my work to editors, and that meant facing many rejections as well as gaining some acceptances. But at least I knew what worked and what didn't.
Now, with so many writers self-publishing Ebooks, the rules of the game have changed. We will have to see how the new publishing landscape affects all writers - old and new, amateur and professional. It's too soon to tell, but the future of writing and publishing is sure to be interesting as we progress through the twenty-first century.