The Real Writing Comes After The Writing
I’ve always felt the real work involved in good writing isn’t in managing to write something of potential interest; it is in applying one’s critical skills to brutally prune and shape it. Certainly what I initially write is just the raw material for the finished work—and often very raw. Maybe some other more talented writers may have brains that do this for them before they put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. But there is no question that most really bad writing has never had the writer move beyond just managing to string some words together—and being quite content with the product.
And all the talk about our brains being divided into a creative half and a critical half is largely poppycock. Still, if one were to dichotomize the act of creation, the most crucial and difficult stage in in creating something worthwhile is not the initial generation of the raw material. (Even a computer can do that.) It is applying one’s critical faculties to discern what has potential worth, so one can refine it, while discarding what is worthless.
Last year I gave a TEDx talk about this topic, presumptuously entitled “Redefining Creativity”.