I can answer that question pretty simply: I write because I’m hungry. Not just for food, but for communication. To talk to someone and create some kind of reaction with them.
When I was a kid, dreaming of being a famous writer someday, the books I read did two things: they created something beautiful in me and they told a good story. These things I try to do in my writing today, although I had never anticipated the Web and the way it would change the way we read and write.
Webwriting can be artful and creative and surprising – and it doesn’t have to be all about text, either. I think what has changed is how we get the work to the audience, and on the crowded, stuffed, and shouting plain of the Web, it’s not easy to get attention. Although I’ve never used the suggested techniques of going to influential bloggers and asking them for links, nor do I truck much with feeds, social bookmarking, and other aggregators, I suppose it’s not realistic to hold to the ideal of just sitting in a room and hoping your writing finds its way out, magically. But I think that good content (maybe optimized, but preferably relevant, well-written, and published in the right place) will find a reader, as it always has.