"Social media and I are already at odds on one major front: Social media does not like mistakes and imperfections. And I love mistakes and imperfections."
I love posts, visual or text, that show growth. The same picture at different stages. The same exercise done four times over a year. A picture and a discussion of its high and low points. A set of colortest thumbnails and why the artist picked a certain one for the bigger painting. A set of poems and critique of them. That sort of thing.
Polished work is everywhere. Crap is everywhere. A good comparison or analysis is much harder to find, and much more useful.
"If you cater to trends and popularity, you’ll get the likes you wanted, but you’ll also end up with art that doesn’t feel like you."
In order to compete well as a private creative rather than one who works for some big company, you need to find a niche -- or several -- that you enjoy filling, and that doesn't get a lot of love from the mainstream. You're looking for a place with low competition and its own audience of people unsatisfied with that low productivity (and often, quality). Make some stuff and put it out there. Market to people who are looking for what you want to make. Then, after you have a crowd of like-minded folks, you can use them for inspiration. They'll ask for things you might never have thought of, but will probably be things you can do. When you and your audience get into a positive feedback loop, you get to make stuff you enjoy, they get to buy stuff they enjoy, and together you fill a gap of entertainment that was mostly empty or crappy before you moved in and started fixing it up. \o/