sorry for the random question, but do you ever get frustrated when you see people who write worse than you getting more attention for their work? it happens to me a lot as an artist and sometimes i just want to yell about who's totally overrated....
First off, I think it’s okay to get frustrated with this stuff sometimes! Fandom sort of vacillates between latching onto genuinely awesome things and latching onto things that just sort of hit a bunch of their favorite buttons, regardless of how well-executed/original/etc. the fanwork actually is, which can make it tough to know how to feel if something you write does/doesn’t get attention. And notecounts depend way more on which particular people reblog your stuff than anything else.
But mostly my attitude is just like… y’know, don’t be a jerk about it. If the popular piece in question is plagiarized or is doing something actively harmful, like whitewashing a character or, like, using rape as a way to woobify a character? Then sure, it’s worth bringing it up. But if it’s just sort of mediocre and getting a lot of notes? Whatever, man. People will enjoy what they enjoy, and almost inevitably something that caters to a popular trope applied to a popular pairing will explode, even if everyone involved is wildly OOC. It’s okay, it’s not harming anyone, and notecounts aren’t a zero-sum game: that 6,000-note cliche-ridden fic isn’t stealing notes from your stuff. Whatever, man. Whatever.
And there’s a certain element of personal preference, too–I’m sure some people eyeroll whenever they see my stuff in the tags, like, not another pretentious fic where people just talk forever and sometimes suffer concussions, gah. And that’s cool. If you don’t like someone’s stuff and everyone else does? It’s annoying, but whatever, man. Vent if you want to, but keep in mind that often the only reply someone can give to your shouts of “I DON’T LIKE THING” is just “ok?”. If someone has a bajillion notes on every piece of artwork, they’re tapping into something the fandom likes. If they’re not doing any harm, there’s no need to be a jerk about it–esp in public, where folks who do like X will feel like shit and X will absolutely feel like shit and… what exactly are you trying to accomplish here. Again, notecounts have way more to do with who reblogs your work than with how good it is. And people frequently aren’t reblogging something because they genuinely think it’s the Best Thing Ever, they’re reblogging it because they enjoyed it. Give them a little credit for critical thinking. Whatever, man.
Now, something that is worth bringing up? What the most popular fics/art have in common. Do they tend to focus disproportionately on lavishing attention on white-dude characters with few lines and little development in canon, leaving out everyone else entirely? Hmmmmm. Hmmmmm. If you notice patterns that genuinely go beyond the “but I want more noooootes” feeling that I know we all get from time-to-time? That’s worth bringing up.
So… yeah, I guess what I do is I just keep my head down and make stuff for me and for my friends. Sometimes they take off, sometimes they don’t. If there’s something actively harmful going on–often if I notice a bunch of fics ragging on the same female character–I’ll mention it, but otherwise? You’re not gonna see me vagueblogging about “ohhhh just read a fic where Wash was SO OOC omg i laaaaaughed” just because it got a bajillion kudos on AO3. Like, if I see it and I’m feeling insecure about my own stuff I’ll grumble and maybe do some laps around the apartment, but I’m not gonna be a jerk about it. I’ll just keep making stuff that I think is good.