It's exactly as you say, right now unless you are inside the curation circle bending your way to make very specific posts that do well it is extremely hard to get anything going. Add to that that everyone who has some SP trying to create a real community is unable to do so because the non-linear reward curve punishes you each time you want to support someone who is just getting started or has lower payouts in general. It was hard enough to get something like the SBC going on the 'old steem', this would be impossible today.
The strange thing to me is that this entire "new Steem honest curation idea" is so easily debunked, yet all you see on the trending page is people cheering it on. I can't see the steem price going anywhere but down (compared to the crypto market until the system changes). There is literally no valid reason to power up while the selling pressure remains.
Steemmonster is the only thing that gets it right. code is the rule and there are no guidelines meaning everyone can do what they want and when there is abuse the system is blamed for it. The New Steem rules are just extremely inconsistent, hypocritical, not scalable, ... It's abuse to convert SPORTS into a Steem upvote with the community SP while it's ok to convert AFIT into Steem upvotes, circle voting is not ok yet the ones who use their big free downvotes (which gives their own post bigger payouts by the way) do it themselves to a certain extent.
I'm still enjoying the process of blogging (regardless the payouts) and still hope that one day the reward pool is just removed (it's the cause of all evil on steemit) and replaced by a proof of stake algorithm which I can see working. Make curation come from tips directly out of peoples wallets (which would be the only real honets curation) and all the BS would be instantly fixed. (Blatant Abuse, post2mine, pretend2care, upvote4upvote, Selfupvoting, vote selling,...) on top it would give extra reasons to invest as the tech itself is pretty awesome.