Times have certainly changed. I approach this question a little differently, as I began writing at a time when things had to be filtered through an editor who served as a form of gatekeeper to what went in their publications.
In short, I wrote plenty that was “crappy” because it was unpolished, but it was all experience and experiment. But I never published any of it.
The question therefore comes at a different time in literary history, when anything can be published. You can close your eyes and make keystrokes for ten minutes and then hit “enter” and call it original.
I saved lots and lots of weak, inarticulate, unpublished pages and stories and poems in folders and guess what? Lots of it is pretty good, and with a little editing some of it great. I am glad I did not discard it, and equally glad it wasn’t published. The better material has become fodder for better blog posts.
I recently interviewed a musician who said she was glad her first CD never got produced. She matured so much since then and her first CD is stellar, ten years later.
I do think Medium is a great resource for developing your voice. One feature I like is the ability to privately share something you wrote. Even though I have been a published writer for over 40 years, I still have pieces I am not sure about. I wrote something a couple weeks back that I was uncertain about. It has great potential, but it jumps from idea to idea in a somewhat disconnected way. I shared it privately and the feedback I got was “It needs more work.”
For sure, you have the rest of your life ahead of you. Life is longer than you think. My suggestion is to find a balance between sharing everything and not sharing. If your name is attached to it, you want people coming back for more, right? Polish it a little more and use the feedback to keep getting better.
Thanks for the article. It made me think.