“Quantity is how you get to quality.” I heard someone say that on a podcast recently—I’ll tell you more about that in a minute. But the quotation resonated with me because that’s the whole point of this blog. I was going to save this rumination for a milestone—maybe Day 500, which is tantalizingly close. But let’s eat dessert first, shall we?
I sell the daily practice to my writers by telling them that when you write every day, you increase your skills. And that’s true. But no one can turn out brilliant work every day. So in addition to teaching you to write better, a daily practice also teaches you to accept imperfection.
And—and forgive me if the point seems obvious at first—it forces you to write every day. Even when you think you haven’t got a single idea in your head.
If I weren’t committed to write every day, I might skip those uninspired days. But many of those “idea-free” days have produced some of my best work.
If I wrote, say, three days a week, those posts might be more narrowly confined to my so-called field of expertise—business writing. It’s much easier to turn out three posts a week on business writing than it is to turn out seven. But because I write every day, I wander out of my field and digress sometimes.
This—my most-shared post to date—began as a digression.
Write every day—quantity matters
I promised to get back to you about the quotation that set me off here—”quantity is how you get to quality.” That’s not an quote from the podcast guest, or from the original coiner of the phrase. It’s from prolific director and guy-who’s-made-my-skin-crawl-for-decades, Woody Allen. Increasing the skin-crawling factor, at first the only similar quotation I could find was about sex, from his movie Love and Death:
“It’s not the quantity of your sexual relations that count. It’s the quality. On the other hand, if the quantity drops below once every eight months, I would definitely look into it.”
But I finally found a quotation that fit the context in which the podcast guest quoted him. It’s from a documentary about Allen:
“I’ve been working on the quantity theory. I feel if I keep making films, every once in a while I’ll get lucky and one will come out OK. And that’s exactly what happens.
That “quantity theory” is exactly what’s at work when you write every day. So write. Every day. You’ll be amazed at what happens.
Write better when you write more often. Join my 5-day writing challenge: Write for 15 minutes a day and I’ll donate your registration fee to a global literacy nonprofit. More info and registration link here.
Also published on Medium.