When I started writing on the internet, I found it so liberating: I could master WordPress; I could figure out how to post and promote, I was in control. Whenever even one more person happened onto my blog, I felt like the work I was doing was somehow worthwhile. When I moved from writing on my own blog to writing Scandals of Classic Hollywood (and, later, for other sites), the production changed, but so did the size of the audience. The gratification levels exploded accordingly.
But I was struck by how many readers assumed that I was just riffing on vast stores of pre-existing knowledge—like I sat down, [...]