Garbage or Raw Material?
A solid piece of writing advice that has stuck with me came from a writing workshop by Toronto instructor Brian Henry. The gist of it was that it’s probably not a good idea to read over a finished piece of your writing when you’re in the middle of writing a first draft. Finished work is polished and finely-tuned; a first draft raw and awkward. Reading the finished stuff makes you think – wow, how did I do this? It must be a fluke because what I’m writing now is garbage (and that’s a polite way of putting it).
When I’m writing the first draft, I have to keep reminding myself that it’s all about generating ideas and sorting out what’s going to happen. It’s so much easier to obsess over a “just right word” [polishing!] than to create a story that will get the reader to feel something. Luckily, the other MiG Writers never let me get away with that. They always push me to think deeper. A good reason to belong to a critique group.