I was reading some of the Fangs, Fur & Fey posts this week on their topic of the month, which is finding the beginning of the story. How do you know you're starting in the right place? This isn't really a problem for me--I usually start my stories pretty close to where they need to start--but it got me thinking about all of these posts I've been doing. They're all called "Workin' On It", but... I'm not actually working on any of these things.
I mean...I am sort of working on the things I talk about here in a way, but...okay. It's not like I think to myself "Jay, you use 'suddenly' too much, so the next time you sit down to write, you're not going to use 'suddenly' at all," like I'm moving toward some Platonic ideal of writing the perfect first draft. It's more like "you use 'suddenly' too much, so make sure at some point you do a search for the word 'suddenly' and take out a bunch." I suppose if that's "working on" something, then I do it.
Like the writers who are responding to the "finding the beginning" post on FFF--I'm pretty sure they're not all "oh, next time I write a story, I'm going to start at the beginning." How could you even do that? How would you even know what the beginning was when you started the story?*
I guess what I'm trying to say here is that working on writing isn't about noticing your mistakes so that you never make them again. It's about noticing how you naturally work, so that you can make the finished product as strong as possible.
* I usually do "start at the beginning" of a story, but the only reason I know that is because when I go back and look I don't have to take a bunch of pages out at the beginning. It's not something I consciously do; it's something that seems to work out for me most of the time. I'd hardly call that "working on it."