Prose by Ben Callahan |||

Quality, Quantity, Practice, Perfect

Quality over quantity.”

Practice makes perfect.”

The past three months have taught me that these two statements are actually both wrong. Let me explain.

First, you need to know that I’ve been in a writing challenge with a friend of mine for the past three months. In fact, this piece is the last official writing from that challenge. The rules were simple—publicly publish at least one piece every week for three months. First person to miss their deadline owed the other a $50 Amazon gift card.

You might be thinking, Well, that writing challenge you just described sounds like you were practicing, and practice makes perfect.’” You would be mostly right—I have been practicing. But let me tell you with an overwhelming amount of confidence that practice does not make perfect. Perfect is unattainable. People are never perfect. In fact, the myth of perfection paralyzes so many of us, keeping us from releasing our ideas into the world. So, no. Practice does not make perfect.

Now, you might be wondering what’s wrong with quality over quantity.” Let me tell you. Waiting to click publish until we’re convinced the world will label our work quality” means we’ll probably only publish a very few times. That’s not enough. Quantity forces you to examine what you’re learning. Quantity helps you find gems of insight where you’d normally see none. Instead, we should be shooting for quality and quantity.”

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past three months, it’s that I need to click publish more. Doing this is practice and it does make me better. It increases the quantity of my output at the same time as increasing the quality of my output. So, don’t let people tell you to keep refining and refining until it’s perfect. And don’t ever believe you’ll get it perfect even if you try. Put your work out there, one bit at a time, and know that your next release will be better.

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