Saturday, February 10, 2018

Creative Work: Quantity vs. Quality

We usually hear the quality vs. quantity debate swirling around parenting. But just like my recent post about tension and balance, quality vs. quantity is applicable to lots of other areas but particularly creatives and their work. It's one of the reasons I decided to go from about one post a week to a non-negotiable 3 posts even if I don't think I have anything earth shattering, gorgeous, or new to share.

Read Why I'm Posting More in 2018 here. 

This week while making a batch of soap I was listening to Jordon Harbinger's podcast The Art of Charm and this subject came up again. While we all want to create quality work, whatever it is we do, we are much more likely to do that if we are creating a lot of work instead of sitting around waiting for inspiration  or a lightening bolt of genius. Sometimes, I've noticed, making a lot of crappy work helps a lot in eliminating things that don't work or aren't all that great and doing all of that allows my mind to sink down to where the good stuff is.

I cannot tell you how many times ideas and inspiration come while I'm doing the work.

If you are stuck and can't get inspired, are out of ideas, or have writer's block, just do some work. This is where I have to recommend Steven Pressfield's masterpiece of motivation, The War of Art. A major theme of which is putting your ass in the seat every day and getting your work done.

I'm mimicking Pressfield there. He writes this book like he's talking to you at the bar while you do shots of tequila. 

I've recommended a ton of books on creativity to my son who is an artist, over the years and he hasn't read them. He returned this book to me telling me it was the message he most needed to hear.

If you aren't a creative this is still an important piece of advice. Doing a quick swish and swipe daily in the bathroom, as recommended by The Fly Lady, is more effective than a deep cleaning once a month.

Daily workouts that aren't particularly long or strenuous are more effective than the killer kickboxing class once a week.

And of course,  spending a lot of ordinary time with your kids is way more important than planning the perfect family vacation or over the top Christmas morning.  

One last word about quality. If you have talent the quality will show up when you do. Sitting around waiting for it or talking about it is often just a high sounding ego-centric ticket to the do-nothing ball. We just want to masquerade as people who don't have any bad work.

If you are getting anything done, you have crappy work and a lot of it.


  1. Thanks for the message. I am currently editing my first book. The resistance I feel to puting myself into the chair is like trying to get two polar opposite magnets together. Yet, I love every minute of actual work.

    1. How great that you are writing a book! That is super exciting! Good for you for overcoming resistance to get that done. Keep me posted!

  2. Good post. I have avoided blogging and anything else that has to do with a computer. But the truth is, I enjoy it. Or at least I used to. So I'm giving it a try again. It's all or nothing at this point!


    1. It is all certainly an ongoing battle, isn't it, Cindy? I try to remember something my son said once about running long distances. "I never want to do it, but I'm always glad I did." Do not give up!


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