Writing Choices: Quality vs Quantity

If you follow my blog you will know that on 5/1/23 I decided to try an experiment. I wanted to see if, by writing a blog entry every day, I could create a ‘writing habit’. It was intended as a 21 day straight series, but I have decided to end it early. Why?

So in medical clinical trials, there is this concept that even if the experiment is not finished, if you start to detect actual harm resulting from it, you terminate the trial early. While my pre-experiment posts were not noble prize winning contributions, when I compare them, the thought, the research, even the writing, to the more recent posts produced under the gun, there is a marked difference in quality.

I started this experiment with the analogy that writing every day would improve my writing, in the same way practicing violin improves my playing. But there is an error in that thinking. The error is, and most violinists will confirm this, there is a big difference between thoughtful, focused practice, which is what makes you progress, and just volume playing. The latter in violin can in some cases even make your playing worse. Many feel this way about orchestra practice, where you sometimes become a little more sloppy, focusing on production, and allowing errors to pass. I believe this experiment is actually a better match to that orchestra practice. It’s not focussed practice, and it’s not therefore taking my writing in the direction I want it to.

Another consideration is that writing is fun. And though I don’t think writing every day takes away the fun, I do think, for me, being constrained in what I may write does. ie I want to write daily, I just don’t happen to want to have that be a blog, and have it posted daily.

And on that same theme, my time is limited. And daily blogging has used that time in such a way I have not been able to work on my actual writing goals – that of writing fiction.

So I am therefore ending the 21 days of blogging experiment, even though I have been able to do it every day straight for the first week, because it’s turned out to be producing the opposite of what I wanted. That’s science for you – sometimes you don’t get the result we expect, and that’s why it’s called an ‘experiment’! I will however be attempting to ‘write’ every day for the remaining 14 days of this. Just not a blog entry every time.

Have you ever attempted something like this? Let me know how you balance quantity with quality and how you work to increase production or improve your craft in fiction in the comments below!

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