2. Writing in school or workshops is nothing like writing for publication.
Workshops exist to affirm writers. The publishing market exists to weed them out.
The creative writing classes and workshops I’ve attended resemble therapy sessions. I know, I’ve been to grad school to learn to be a therapist. Nothing is written that is wrong, and the writing space is a safe place to create. Even critique, which is supposed to be a big part of the writing process, is soft-pedaled. Everyone is encouraged to be part of a big collaborative group that helps everyone along. This is a great way to build confidence and begin the first steps toward writing for publication.
Agents and acquisition editors see far more submissions than they can publish. They don’t have the time or resources to be an accepting safe space. They are polite but firm in their refusal to publish most of what they see. Getting published is not collaborative, it is competitive. You aren’t cooperating with other writers. It’s you or them.
If a creative writing class were like writing for publication, one student would be chosen at random to pick the best piece of writing from the whole class. The student would not have to say why they wanted it, or offer any explanation as to why the other pieces were rejected. The student would also be given fifteen minutes to decide between dozens of pieces. Most likely, the student would either choose someone they already knew, or whichever piece was neatest and had the fewest apparent errors.
That’s the reality. Taking a creative writing class at FLC back in 2008 got me started, and I’m grateful for that. However, I had to move on from that to get where I was going.