It is often the case that we read our own work and miss something, whether it's an inconsistency, an error in the spelling or grammar, or a weak spot in any of the story-telling elements. That is why having somebody else's eyes scan your work is an essential part of polishing your piece and mastering your craft.
I must admit, having your own writing workshopped is a humiliating experience. It can be easy to become complacent in your natural skill and while there are commendable parts of the work (workshopping covers both what works and what needs to be improved), there are imperfections that I was not aware of even while re-reading it by myself.
I have felt utterly embarrassed over how I failed to notice an inconsistency in a story or left something unexplained after a workshop but it did leave me with an itch to go back and revise my brainchild.
For example, I'm involved in the Creative Writing Enthusiasts group at my university. The first writing piece I submitted for a workshop was the beginning of "Sky Girl," a budding science fiction novel. This particular story has had various different introductions since I first conceived it when I was in high school.
The introduction I presented didn't work well but one of the scrapped intros was compatible with one suggestion and got revived. I also needed to do more research about how nuclear blasts work since the way I described the accident and Skylar's injuries wasn't in line with how such an incident would happen in real life.
The story may even end up going in a whole different direction than I originally planned, that is if certain suggestions are taken. I'll have to see. The introduction, at least, was rewritten and I had to go back to update "Sky Girl" on Wattpad and on any other platforms I had posted her.
Recently, I heard a review of a film I once saw and enjoyed. Like is a four-letter word, though, and I have yet to develop my editor's eye. My feedback tends to not be as deep as I'd like it to be. With that in mind, hearing the technical flaws examined, as well as the reviewers' opinions, gave me an idea as to how to think when analyzing a story.
According to the video essay, there were many inconsistencies in the film's plot and dialogue and the characters needed more development. I don't know whether the teleplay writers did a workshop for their script, but I do know that some points mentioned in the essay ringed familiar to some that I might've encountered in a workshop, whether for the Creative Writing Enthusiasts or in a writing class. Additionally, hearing the mistakes of a finished product, of other writers, helps me to know what mistakes to avoid myself.
In a workshop, take notes. Don't be discouraged. Most of us have the raw talent and the solid skills. The first draft will always be trash compared to the finished product, given we have challenged ourselves to make the needed changes. Also keep in mind that while you should keep an open mind, you must also stay original.
As my Intro to Fiction Writing professor, Mr. Nelson, said, "Listen to all suggestions, but don't take all of them or your writing will be boring." In the end, you should be writing your own story, not simply a story that everyone else wants to hear.
With all that in mind, don't be shy from finding a writers workshop near you!