Great post, Brian. Some really great points.
It made me think of Anthony Burgess and A Clockwork Orange and how what we laud as a masterpiece today wasn’t even his favorite piece of writing (which wasn’t nearly as publicly successful).
I’m really not sure about 'why' I do it. I think it’s very complex. And I do think that many people can and do derive a simple pleasure in the writing and publishing process itself.
There is a phrase I like to call The Crossover. This seminal moment in which an artist decides to share with the public. May I suggest that when one has crossed this threshold, there just may be no turning back? Even if nothing of mine was published to even little acclaim, I simply could not go back to writing for my eyes only. Why? Now that seems like a weird concept to me even if nobody ever read what I wrote. Because I’ve long-since 'crossed’.
I think that if you truly think of yourself as a writer or an artist, you will create anyway and always. I think that what social media has done is suggest to everyone that they have a shot, that they’re voice might be important. The audience is cool in a sense of serving to occasionally knock you back down on your ass and show you that you’re not. That’s needed as well. I think in one’s journey as an artist, when you have really stuck with something, the audience morphs into different things.