Quality vs. Quantity

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

via pinterest
With NaNoWriMo almost upon us, I was all ready to write up a nice pep-talk post to bolster your spirits (and mine), when something my sister said held me back. We were talking about dance, and passions in general, and I started thinking about all the successful writers of history, past and present, and what made them successful.

I know we've all heard the phrase "quality over quantity" a hundred and one times, but if you were expecting this post to say anything about how this is the key to higher page views, or something of the sort, your in the wrong place.

I want to tell you why I think quality work is more important than the speed at which you produce it, for your own sake above anything else. We're artists, you and I - we want our work not just to be loved, we want to be the best in our particular genre. And often, in the rush to keep up with the speed of media these days, we scurry along our work and in the particular case of NaNoWriMo, shove in the extra words to better fit our goal.

The issue with this way of thinking is that you begin to sacrifice the style of your piece of work for the expectations or goals of someone else. Yes, length is nice, but a good, well-crafted sentence is not graded on length but its ability to effectively and artfully relay information.

It may take longer to get to your goal - in fact, I guarantee you it will - but in the end, a 40,000 well-written piece is far more valuable than 50,000 words in dire need of editing. You're not learning or improving on anything by speeding up; in fact, you cripple your ability to write well by scrambling to write "faster" for any extended period of time.

This goes for blog posts as well. I often find myself wanting to post on this space simply for the reason that "I haven't posted something in a while," and while that is completely valid, posting for the sake of posting, writing for the sake of writing, creating for the sake of creating - is missing the point of the process. We create, we write, we design because we have something to share - not because we "think we should."

My father always asks, when I tell him how much I've written in a day, "how many of those words were good words?" And I want to ask you the same thing.

Every word should fight for its existence in your sentence. If it can't make a good case for lodging, it doesn't belong there.


  1. Exactly! People talk about writing even when you can't think of anything to say, but my response was always, "What's the point of writing if you have nothing to say?" Quality should always, always come first.

  2. This is one of the reasons I don't do NaNoWriMo. Although I believe deadlines are God's way of giving us a kick in the pants, trying to write a novel in one month just 'because' ... Anyway. I have a hard time juggling quality and quantity.

  3. Hanna; Ghost Ryter:
    Agreed. If every word has a purpose, your story has purpose. Without that, the story lacks meaning - yes, as a whole.

    But you knew that already. :)


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