So, finally, here’s an answer to one of the questions I posed earlier:
“Am I really writing more for myself, or more for my (hypothetical) reader?”
The answer to this is both.
I certainly write for myself, as a creative outlet (“I gotta be me”), a personal challenge (“Can it be done?”, or more to the point, “Is it any good?”), etc. That is my selfish personal development stuff, exorcising itself.
For my reader (you know who you are, and I look forward to finding a few more like you), I hope there are engaging-enough characters presented, in an interesting and sympathetic world that makes you want to return. I want the people, places, circumstances and imagery to resonate with you.
Actually, I want to visit these people and worlds again myself too.