Most stories I've written lately have been prompted by calls for submissions. That's fine. Sometimes it helps to have something jump start my imagination. Also, I need to build my name recognition if I ever hope to sell my novel. But...
I don't usually like those stories as much as the ones I write just for me.
Critique partners seem to notice the difference too. When the story is prompted by a call for submissions, the comments I get are usually about the sex. I'm not complaining. Getting a, "Hot scene," or "Woof!" from people who read and write erotica is high praise. Yet those comments don't compare to, "I feel like I tried to kiss a moving bus. Bam!" and "This is so amazingly, twistedly, fine." Or the one that made me laugh the most: "You sick fuck." (Another reader described that story as autoerotic necrophilia - even though everyone in the story had a pulse - so "sick fuck" was fitting for that extreme fetish tale. Besides, it was meant affectionately.)
Currently, there are two more calls for submission I'd like to write for. One, I have the story written and it simply needs polishing. The other... well... I'm on my third story and nothing seems to be working, so I may have to give up. After that, I think I'm going to ease up on submissions. I'm going to simply write for me for a while. Please my inner sick fuck. And maybe I'll plant a big wet one on a moving bus.