John Fowles addresses the reader in The French Lieutenant’s Woman thus:
"I’m a novelist, not a man in the garden.
[N]ovelists write for countless different reasons. For money*, for fame, for reviewers, for parents, for friends, for loved ones; for vanity, for pride, for curiosity, for amusement.
Only one same reason is shared by all of us: we wish to create worlds as real as, but other than, the world that is. Or was."
Do we write to be read? Well, yes, mostly. I don’t know many contented writers whose work never sees the light of day. We have (at least we think so) something to say.
Again, the pretentious might suggest writers search for truth, which I’d agree with to some extent. For me, though, it always comes from reading someone else, reading something so remarkable, so utterly compelling, that I want to see if I can produce this effect in another. That and a violent dislike for being in an office.