Why write a novel? The possibilities: one writes either for oneself, or for others, or both.
If an author is writing solely for him/herself, the motivation might be an undying call to exercise creativity. This can be a powerful psychological elixir, and the call is answered with little or no regard for an audience. Sometimes the story simply has to – damn the torpedoes – get out. Another impetus might be self-treatment . . . writing can be cathartic, which is sometimes needed. Others might do it just to see if they can do it. The challenge is the point, possible readership notwithstanding. A few writers plunk the keyboard because they crave the adulation and fame that accompanies producing a “best seller.”
Writing for others can be prompted by the felt need to communicate a message or to provide an educational experience. An example is George Orwell’s Animal Farm, an allegorical tale intended to expose the dangers of totalitarian regimes.
Other authors write for the primary purpose of making money. A good story and respectable style might be included, but often such authors depend on selling books for their primary income. While the profit motive might be primary, the book is still written for others because others have to purchase it for money to be made.
My bibliophilic life over the decades has led me to believe that a large percentage of authors write to provide enjoyable, enlivening experiences for readers. Personal gratification is derived simply from the fact that others find the story life-enhancing. Other considerations (mentioned above) might factor in, but the primary goal is to provide a quality literary adventure for others.
Why write a novel? Take your pick. But please keep writing.