Hey Ryan! Thanks for these questions! I'll write an article on some of these topics one day... But I'll give you a quick scoop.
Curation is called distribution now, but some writers use the words interchangeably.
My advice for curation is a good headline, appropriate sourcing, and interesting content.
In terms of self-publishing vs publishing, I will always err on the side of publishing, even if you pitch to smaller publications.
I probably write about 8-12 articles a month.