I feel this piece in my bones.
I joined a little over a year ago and somehow gained a following. I remember when I wrote to an audience of me and me alone almost 6 years ago. The success feels rewarding, but also has started trolling me as you aptly pointed out. Sometimes I write stuff I’m really proud of and it doesn’t connect. You get a few green hearts. Hell, when I started writing here I was happy to get one little green heart. Now I find myself reevaluating why I write, and then I realize it’s because I love to, I love stories, and there’s nothing better than reading other people’s work you love. It’s too bad some of them don’t want to hone their craft here and choosing to bail. Sure it sucks seeing “5 Steps to Become An Unstoppable Killing Machine in Life Like the T-1000 Simply With Your Mind And By Using Nothing More Than a Leather Journal That Will Make You Millions.” It’s a top story almost every day, and has to be disheartening for people writing fiction and other topics of importance, especially when there are some really damn good writers on here.
I guess that’s what makes me stick around (aside from the fact I love the community and ease of writing here). I want to meet other diamonds in the rough (to quote Aladdin) and cheer them on to greatness. It’s how we met one another and I’m glad we did :)