I read an interesting anecdote recently about how quantity leads to quality. From Art & Fear, by Ted Orland:
A ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality.
His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot — albeit a perfect one — to get an “A”.
Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes — the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.
It really resonated with me. I suffer from the same affliction as the “quality” group - perfectionitis. This blog is an example. I’m proud of my work, but my pace is abysmal. I’ve only written 6 essays in 15 months. I am (was?) too scared to release something imperfect.
The story inspired me to change my approach, starting with becoming a better writer. Perhaps counter-intuitively, I am not going to focus on quality - only quantity. I’ll be releasing a new post every week. I started last week.
Why am I telling you this? Three reasons.
First, to set expectations about my future posts. They will not be as polished as usual, especially in the beginning.
Second, to be held accountable. Announcing it to the world makes me more likely to stick to it. (I’m such an ardent believer in accountability that I built my entire business around it.)
Third, so you can follow me on this journey. I hope it encourages you to do the same - act first, think later.
Onwards and upwards!
P.S: You can find more of my thoughts on Twitter @_suketk.