Perhaps the most useful aspect of a workshop—more useful than the critiques, which are often all over the map—is the irreplaceable and salutary terror of public performance. Putting up a piece before a workshop is in effect publishing it, and the workshop offers many new writers their first exposure to the very best teaching tool, which is one’s own self-recrimination after putting up a piece that the writer knew in her/his heart wasn’t quite ready.
Fenton Johnson, in VQR’s “Thoughts on the Process: a Conversation about Writing with Fenton Johnson”