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July 27th, 2019

Quantity in creativity leads to quality.


The creator who makes quantity a priority will inevitably stumble upon quality and therefore have both.  The creator who only concentrates on quality may never achieve either.


The most illuminating example of this would be the great composers like Beethoven and Mozart.  The quantity of musical output that these composers had was not simply double that of mediocre composers, nor even ten times the amount.


On average, the great composers produced one hundred times as much work as mediocre composers.


To put this in perspective, let’s make up some numbers. 


Let’s say a mediocre composer produced 10 large pieces of music, symphonies perhaps.


This means that a great composer would produce . . . . 1,000 symphonies!


But total size is not the most interesting part of these made up numbers.  Let’s say that only 10% of any given composer’s work is really good.  The cream of the crop, you might say.


For the mediocre composer, that’s about…. 1. One piece of music that is considered that composer’s best. 


But for a great composer, their best 10% is 100 symphonies!


These numbers are hypotheticals, but the magnitude of quantity becomes particularly poignant.  A great composer’s top 10% is the size of other mediocre composers’ entire output. 


But here’s the thing.  No one really knows how good their work is going to be when they start out on it.  We all have hopes that we’ll produce something great, but that can’t really be planned nor guaranteed.  We can certainly get better with practice, but this again supports the quantity as a higher priority than quality. 


Qualityemergeswith quantity.  It akin to saying that there’s a 1 in 10 chance of producing something awesome. if you only try once, then odds are slim that it’ll happen.  But the more often you try, the more likely it is to happen.


Simply: those who make creative output a habit are bound to create something worth while…. eventually.



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