It was yet another depressing sign that the cultural spaces once dedicated to the selfless art of reading are being taken over by the narcissistic commerce of writing.
I will not particularly speak for or against the notion of writing as a narcissistic act, though I do think the extent to which people, particularly editors, rail against people who dare to write to please themselves is nauseating. Nobody critiques a full group for their interest in quilting or cooking or stamp collecting. The music community doesn't seem to rise up in arms over the proliferation of shitty garage bands. I think they realize that nobody's harming anybody--that crappy output doesn't lose them listeners overall.
But music is selfish, right? To listen to music is an act of self-pleasure; nobody's doing it out of the goodness of their hearts. Reading, meanwhile--who would do that unless they had a heart overflowing with fellow-feeling? Who would read unless it were to give back to society, to donate time one would otherwise use for baser pleasures--to contribute something?
My sense is that a lot of writers Laura Miller is complaining about don't like reading either. But because they think no one does, they don't have a reason to use NaNoWriMo as a starting gun instead of an end unto itself, after which they seek out publishers and readers. Through constant sniping about how hard reading is and how selfless it is, writers are given the message that there's as much chance readers will enjoy the stories they have to tell as there is that readers will enjoy anything on the bookstore shelves. So, what reason is there not to try?