The issue is that at some point I stopped writing for me and started writing for other people. Granted, this has sometimes led to me completing stories that would have languished otherwise--at least in part. When I was still in college and then fairly recently out, I had the habit of writing, and I had a highly enthusiastic fandom where a fair number of people were interested in and talkative about what I was writing. And it was fabulous. For a while.
But then I started losing interest in that fandom, both because I fell out of love with the show itself and because fandom's tastes increasingly diverged from mine. Aside from a handful of writers, who also began drifting away, fandom became obsessed with a single non-canonical relationship, to the point where it seemed no one cared about any other characters or potential relationships--and because those were the things I was writing, my stories received less and less of a response, to the point where two comments seemed like overwhelming bounty. And eventually I looked at all these half-finished stories I had sitting around and wondered why bother? If no one else cares about them, why should I?
Aside from a few blips where people have asked me to write particular things--and which they then haven't always responded to, let alone other people--that's the state I've been in for years now. Not being able to make myself care about writing because it seems no one else does either--it's really an awful lot like being in the Doldrums from The Phantom Tollbooth. I hate it. And I hate myself because of it. Every Sunday morning when I survey the past week, I have this sense of failure because I didn't write anything. And I know that I almost certainly won't write anything in the week ahead, because that's how it's been going now for years, so I start the week with a preemptive sense of futility.
This isn't a plea for more comments--that would be nice, but it wouldn't change the fundamental issue, which is: if I don't think what I'm writing is interesting enough to finish, why should anyone else? If I don't care enough about these characters to spend extended amounts of time with them, why should I expect any reader to, let alone comment about doing so? If I don't love the little worlds that I'm trying to make, why bother making them?
And if I love them, what does it matter whether anyone else does?