Is It Valuable? (Still Taking Stock)

The critical test of the potential relationship between what I'm writing here and actually making money from my writing rests on the question of, "Is what I'm publishing here actually valuable and important for readers?"

Let us first of all note that "valuable" and "important" are deeply subjective and highly dependent on the particular needs, sense of aesthetics, etc., of each specific reader.

So while it is not exactly for me to say what is valuable and what isn't, I propose that my frequent digressions into issues like, well, exactly what I'm discussing here are likely to be valuable to exactly two kinds of people: people who are trying to explore how one might function as a writer in the modern world, i.e. ways that online publishing requests a different approach from us, both as writers and audience; and people who already care about me, i.e. close friends and family. That my audience seems to consist entirely of friends and family offers some evidentiary support for that above assertion, though in self-contradiction and self-defense I should also admit that I've done essentially no promotion at all of what I've written here beyond telling friends and family about it, which would tend to restrict the potential for growth into new audiences, particularly audiences who might be inclined to support my financial growth as a writer and artist.

But let's be honest. A major reason I haven't promoted what I'm publishing is my sense that by using the process of my practice to explore the utility to myself and to others of said practice, I might be kind of restricting the writing's utility to anyone but, basically, myself. I've rejected "blogging," as we usually understand the term, as pointless navel gazing, so I haven't written blogposts. Instead, over the past going-on-two-years, I've written many pieces that are something like meta-blogposts, that is, pieces about the pieces themselves, which is sort of like the aforementioned navel starting to gaze in turn at its own navel. The potential audience for that kind of solipsistic exploration would seem to be exactly one (myself), at least until such time as Free Refills itself becomes self-aware, at which point this self-examination will doubtless strike it as useful to the extreme.

(I mean, imagine if someone were to hand you a Book of You, a written exploration of all that you are, have been, hope to achieve, etc., something very directly and personally to and for you, except written entirely by someone else without any participation on your part at all. After you got over the weird, Twilight Zone-type creepiness of the whole thing (e.g. "How did a book dedicated to me and yet written before I was even conscious know to offer such perfectly useful advice at exactly the moment in my life when I needed it the most?"), you'd probably be very appreciative. "What do I do in this situation?" you might ask yourself. "I know!" you'd say. "I'll consult the manual." And you'd pull out The Manual of Me.)

Free Refills might even some day thank me. But my readers? That is another thing entirely.

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