← Chetan Surpur

Quantity and Quality

The 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.

(From Art & Fear)

In aspiring to become a better writer, I’ll take a leaf from the book above. Consistency is the key to success, and instead of sitting here theorizing about perfection, I want to consistently improve my writing by actually writing.

With that spirit, I hereby declare:

I will publish one blog post here every two weeks for the next year. For each two week stretch that I miss, I will post a separate statement of failure on this blog, immortalizing my shame for that period.

It doesn’t matter if the posts are good, bad, or ugly. I’m only being graded on quantity.

By the end of the year, if all goes well, I should be 25 published posts better at writing than today.

Let the flurry begin!

It's not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It's what we do consistently. Anthony Robbins