15 Minutes

Financial, Relationship and Spiritual Growth. Personal Development. Leadership.

Trick Question: Quality or Quantity?


potterIn high school I wrote a report on Stephen King. Two actually, for my junior and senior year English classes. (Well, one really, and a later “revised edition”). Whether you like or dislike Stephen King as a writer, you cannot deny that he is successful. During my research I read about King’s work habit in an interview. He would write for 8 hours every day, 362 days a year (he took off only three days). On average, he would produce ten pages of work every day, producing a book and a half a year. Take a look at his biography, to see the list of awards, movies, and novels with his name attached.

One more quick story. An art professor teaching a ceramics class divided the class into two groups. Group A, would have their grade based on the total number of pottery pieces they completed during the semester. Group B, would have their grade based on only a single final masterpiece that they had the entire semester to complete. Group A jumped in, churning out ceramics as fast as possible. Group B, planned, studied, strategized then finally towards the end of the semester, built their prize work. And at the end of the semester all the best pieces in the class came out of Group A.

Quality comes from quantity. As Ernest Hemmingway once said, “The first draft of anything is (excrement).” The first group of students developed the most skill and the best quality work because they spent the most time working. Stephen King, especially early in his career probably wrote a lot of work that he threw away in disgust, but he kept going consistently and persistently. (And fortunately his wife, Tabitha, pulled the first dozen or so pages of Carrie out of his wastebasket).

Here is my three step process to producing quality work.

1. Start. Do not wait for inspiration. Roll up your sleeves and work.
2. Keep Going.
3. Go to Step 2.

Then here are two sub-steps to help guide the process, but I wouldn’t add them in until at least 21 days have passed and you have developed a work habit of some sort. Also, these are always in addition to Step 2 and Step 3, never instead of them.

4. Review your work. Make sure you are progressing in the direction you want.
5. Seek Advice. From qualified people.

That’s my five step process to producing quality work. I know I like to keep things simple, but is that too simple? Would you add another step?

Author: Matt_S_Law

Matt S. Law is an author focusing on success principle and motivational books. He was born, raised and currently resides in Honolulu, Hawaii.

2 thoughts on “Trick Question: Quality or Quantity?

  1. I love the simplicity of it. It really comes down to what Nike has been telling us all along…Just do it! As far as reviewing your work to see if you are progressing in the direction you want, are we really smart or clairvoyant enough to know what we want, or will want? Do we know what will be liked or needed by others when we finish our work? Did Stephen King think that everything he wrote had mass appeal? How about JK Rowling? I think if you generally know that you started in the right direction, the mass quanity of work that was headed in the right direction will lead to a fair percentage of products coming close to the mark intended. The others may still become productive efforts that could be desired by someone else, which really means that review of the work might not be needed. Review of the pocketbook might. I think the advice from qualified people might alter your general direction only slightly, because if they really knew eactly what it took, they would be doing themselves. Unless you are buying a franchise, it is best not to copy someone else exactly.

    • Thanks for the comment Ryan. I thought I was being overly simple, but you think I might be making it more complex than it needs to be? That would be a first. But, I still feel that taking time to review and look at your progress is valuable, just to make sure that you don’t end up being busy for the sake of busy-ness. And seeking feedback from others (well, some others) is better than relying only on your own feedback. After all, even Tiger Woods has a golf coach that he can beat any day of the week. Thanks for reading!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s