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Quantity Truimphs Over Quality

Updated: Jul 22, 2019

Quantity is the royal road to quality.
Quantity is the royal road to quality.

I wish I'd learned this lesson about 20 years ago. I can only wonder what a difference it would have made for me to implement this simple but powerful principle. Quantity trumps quality. It's really that simple. There is no substitute to working on the craft you intend to pursue. “Art & Fear” is a book written by David Bayles and Ted Orland. In the book they tell a story about a pottery teacher who decides to do an experiment with his class for one semester. One half of the class is told that they will be tested on the quantity of pottery they produce. The other half of the class is told they will be tested on the quality of a single piece. When the semester ends and the testing is done, all the best pottery is produced by the students who were tested on quantity.

The lesson is simple. Create, create, create. You don't get better by focusing on the masterpiece. You improve by progressing through all the iterations along the way. We learn from the process of making. The faster we make, the faster we improve. As I said in my opening comment, “I wish I'd learned this lesson 20 years ago. I have emphasized quality over quantity in almost every creative endeavour from artwork, to animation and music production. I have storyboarded, sketched, edited, written and re-written my projects to a cold hard death. I've been so afraid to release less than polished work that I didn't release anything at all. I've learned from my mistakes. Now I realize that the fastest way to produce quality work is to produce work.

There are other essential factors that contribute to success that are related to this principle. The faster that you can create content, the faster you can share your process with others who can become your supporters, cheerleaders, and audience. These people will offer valuable feedback along the way. If you hold back your work until its “good enough,” you'll never give your audience an opportunity to grow with you. Even if you capture that lightning in a bottle and make something truly magical, it may fizzle out in the cold space of the internet blackhole that swallows so many projects every single day. Your supporters will give you that chance to be heard. If you make them part of your journey, they'll float your boat when the time comes to sail.

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