My old friend Jeff VanderMeer is judging for Best American Fantasy, and he has some important things to say about the nature of short fiction writing and publishing.
When there is nothing personal or at stake for the writer in the story, there often is nothing personal or at stake for the reader. But this is not just the responsibility of the writer. It's the responsibility of the editor. The fact is, there are few enough stories in any year that really needed to be published, needed to be read, and will survive in the public imagination for more than a few hours or months.
I think this applies not just to genre stories—-and not just to stories. I was taught that the world doesn’t need another good poem (only a great one). I think that’s a little harsh. But I do believe there is only one reason to write a story, just as I believe there is only one reason to do anything in this world: because you can’t not do it.