Quality Vs Quantity – Thoughts about writing and practice.

Here’s a short question and thought for my writer friends and readers out there…

On one hand you have experts saying, “Write, write, write. Write 500 words a day. Forget writer’s block, just put pen to paper and write something, even if you know it’s rubbish.”

On the other hand, you have a sort of Pauline approach that says write only what is genuine, what is truly moving to you. “I would rather write 4 or 5 words of meaning and truth than 10,000 words that don’t matter to the reader.” (my paraphrase from Corinthians)

Which side of this do you fall on in theory, and in practice (if there’s a difference)?

8 thoughts on “Quality Vs Quantity – Thoughts about writing and practice.”

  1. I agree. I write as much as I can on a daily basis, but only as much that is meaningful to the story. Sometimes to work through writer’s block or lack of accomplishment that day, I write about I wrote that day… keeps the ideas flowing and sometimes something will come to me then. And it’s practice. 🙂

  2. I think you have different situations here. If a person is here to practice there is no reason not to write 10,000 words a day. Even if none of them are great, because there should be no judgement on someone that is here to get better. Now if you are speaking of a religious blog or some blog of wisdom… then sure go with the “less said the better” approach.” People that apply to much thought to writing end up not writing, and that is the true crime. -OM

    1. I agree, it’s different. The question came from a Freshly Pressed discussing which one was the “right” method.
      My answer comes from years practicing piano. I spent hours sitting at the keys plunking through songs or just playing around, not worrying about getting it right for someone’s enjoyment, just learning to play the instrument. That way, when I did play in front of an audience, I was ready to do it well.
      Quantity leads to quality, but anything we throw in front of an audience should be an attempt at quality.

      Thanks for answering. Your various short question posts inspired this one, as you might have guessed.

  3. I think if I waited for quality writing, I might never write. I write in a journal nearly every day. I also have two writing projects going at once – a blog, and a long-term project. My goal is to be writing or editing in one of them each day. However…sometimes if my energy is totally zapped, I read. That reading can lead to amazing ideas that boost ideas for writing the next day.

    I never have a word count goal, but with the longer project, I have a page or chapter goal (it’s non-fiction). And I depend on the Spirit to give me guidance. When I try to write on my own, it’s always a struggle. When the Spirit gives me the words and the direction, the writing flows like a river. 🙂

    1. Yes, I agree completely. Good point about reading as a way to recharge.
      I like how you put the difference between writing when it flows easily vs when you struggle to do it. I know writing songs for church, there are some that just flow together and come out perfect. Then there are ones I try to write. When I find myself sitting there trying to figure out lines and notes, then it feels forced, and wrong.
      I haven’t really had that experience with writing, but I think it’s similar when I really believe strongly on a subject vs. when I’m writing “just a blog post.”

      1. I find when I’m completely “blocked” I stop and pray for guidance. Often, I’m directed to a particular Scripture or the words start flowing. If they don’t, I know it’s time to stop for the day. When that happens, guidance comes in the form of a song I hear later that night, or something I read before I go to bed. Funny how the Spirit works that way! 😉

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