No disrespect to Michael Froomkin, who writes great stuff, but his “why I write” post mostly confirms what I said below: even for under-read law faculty, and within the norms and expectations of the field — it’s about money, sex, fame, or some combination thereof.
Within pretty sizable limits, it’s mostly about fame, though not fame in the Britney-Spears-with-a-video-camera “look at me” sense. I write, I think, because publishing something reminds me that I actually get to participate, in a very, very small way, in conversations that I’ve been reading about since I was in junior high school. Number one, that’s just cool. Number two, that’s incredibly humbling (it’s also incredibly arrogant; as if I have something to say back to Aristotle? Holmes? Posner? Froomkin?). Number three, it does bring me my very small piece of fame: In the future, someone else will sit down at the keyboard and look at writing from that point of view. If I’m lucky, or maybe if I’m not, I’ll be part of the conversation.