Ben Crowder

Quantity and quality

Quantity or quality? When I first sat down to write this post (fifteen seconds ago), I thought I was going to say that I want to write higher-quality articles and that’ll mean less frequent posts. But then I remembered this quote from Art & Fear:

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.


But is that even the question? Is this even about blogging? Or is it about making stuff instead?

That’s what I do, you see. I make stuff. And lately I’ve been realizing that I do a lot of peripheral, auxiliary things that take time away from making stuff. Some of those things are good and essential. But others — perhaps many — are a waste of time, and letting them continue to leech my creative time and energy is a) stupid, b) irresponsible, and c) soul-shattering. (By that I mean that it splinters my soul so I’m not in harmony with myself. Or something like that.)

Anyway, I don’t think this means I’m going to stop blogging, or even necessarily blog less. What it does mean is that I need to do everything I do with passion. Including blog posts. Am I doing that here? I’m not sure — I get the feeling that it’s hit and miss, perhaps more miss than hit. Something to work on. More later. (I’ve got to get some work done on this ward directory before bed.)


  1. Carolina

    This is what i call a high-quality post!

  2. Katherine Morris

    Thanks for sharing that story, Ben. Very much what I needed to hear. :-)

  3. Ben

    Carolina: Thanks. :)

    Katherine: It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. There’s a video on YouTube in a similar vein which all creatives should watch: Ira Glass on storytelling

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