USS Clueless - No contributions

Stardate 20030914.1052

(Captain's log): Dave writes:

I have looked for a way on your site to send you some money to donate, contribute or help with your efforts. Keeping up a blog like yours is not without cost and maybe considerable cost.

I love your posts. They are thoughtful, reasoned, informative etc., etc., etc. I consider myself blessed for your efforts as they seem to me to be full of wisdom and that is rather rare these days.

Let me know how and where to send you a token of my gratitude.

I get letters similar to this occasionally. Given the way that so many other bloggers have a prominent "Paypal" or "Amazon tip bucket" icon, and drop hints about their use or outright threaten to quit if the flow of money doesn't increase, I guess my unwillingness to accept contributions may seem unusual. So I felt it might be worthwhile to post the letter I sent him back in response:

Actually, I don't really want any contributions. It does cost me (about $150 per month for bandwidth, over and above about $2K I spent to buy the server and the content management software I use), but it's an expense I don't mind bearing. I'm used to having expensive hobbies, and that's how I view this.

The goal of a hobby is to consume leisure time and to have fun, and on that basis this particular one has actually been pretty cheap per hour compared to some I've tried. (I spent as much on camera equipment once about 25 years ago but didn't use it anything like as much.)

On the other hand, I know myself well enough to be sure that if I started accepting contributions I would also start feeling obligation and pressure. I'd feel as if I had to write, even if I didn't feel inspired to do so, and when I force myself to write the result is always crap. It turns out that the best stuff I've written invariably flowed out as fast as I could type it, because it had all been created somewhere inside me before I even began.

I don't know how long you've been reading my site. If it's been less than a year, you may not have seen this posting from last October, which tells how I really write.

Anyway, there would also be a feeling that I had to somehow tune the material for the paying audience instead of being able to write whatever I want to, as I do now.

It wouldn't matter if the contributions were thought of as no strings by the contributors; I would still end up feeling that way. (Protestant ethic, you know?) And then it would cease to be fun. And the material would get worse, and no one would benefit.

So I apreciate the offer, but I'll have to turn it down. (Though I'm flattered that you think my stuff is worth paying for.)

Update: In response to which, Michael then asks another question I've received a lot: "OK, then, when're you going to release a book?"

Sorry, but I'm afraid that the idea of trying to put together a book, even made out of old postings, doesn't interest me. It sounds too much like work, quite frankly.

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