For me, I write because I have stories in me that drive me half mad unless I tell them in some fashion. It's been like that since middle school - all these stories and characters jumping up, introducing themselves, and 'showing" me their stories that I try to translate to some written form. (at Amanda - I'm one of those girls - I just make sure I do it when no one is around as I often talk out my stories to my self
) At times its stressful, and for over a decade I never did well with the putting stories to ink/pixels. It's "fun" in the aftermath, and a wonderful outlet for my creativity and imagination.
For why I want to be published - primarily to share the stories within me with others. Letting friends read them just doesn't do it, though I do enjoy people reading what I write even for free. Having a wider audience of readers who will know my stories would be wonderful. And, if it can generate a little side income at the same time, though, why not? Who doesn't want just a little more money?
It isn't my career choice nor will it ever be my career - I know I'd never be a writer if it was "my job", just from my nature of how I am with my creative stuff. Web development is the only fun "hobby" that also translated to a career I love.