Quality or Quantity?

Published on 19 September 2023 at 12:43

A lot of weeks when I write these, I’ll find someone’s thought or content as inspiration and bounce off it. In the past that’s been @inspiredtowrite, Rajiv Surendra, or Austin Kleon. This week, I’m not feeling that. It’s not that it doesn’t exist or that creators aren’t making beautiful and inspirational things; I just haven’t had the capacity to take it all in this week. There are three fully written blog posts that I could put here today, but not one of them has that “it” factor for me. So what happens in this situation? Do I throw something on here because it needs to be done? Do I hope something strikes me later in the day?

I’ve written before about getting through writer’s block, but this doesn't feel like writer's block. I have done plenty of writing this week, just none of it very interesting. It either feels unfinished, or like I’m going through the motions. I’m hitting the keys but the voice isn’t there. There is a balance to be met between the need to get content out and making content that feels like it has the quality you want.

This seems like an easy enough question. Last night, my husband and I were watching a YouTube video last night where someone modded out Skyrim VR to be more immersive. The biggest complaint he had about the game was that Bethesda did not take the time to polish the game and add the mechanics the gamers are wanting, and instead threw out a semi-finished product in the hope that modders would finish it out. In this sense, it makes perfect sense that most people prefer quality over quantity. Serve a finished, quality product instead of rushing and serving something half-baked.

At the same time though, as a content creator you need to be making enough content to stay relevant, so that when you make a quality product someone actually notices. I don’t have an answer on what that balance is for everyone, but I do have a few suggestions on managing it.

  1. Communicate with your audience. Especially if you’re small, if you’re having a bad day you’re audience is likely to be understanding. If you’re running a bit behind on a commitment you made, explain why and when you actually expect it to be fulfilled. If you don’t know when, just say so.
  2. When you have those moments, learn from them. Take a moment to think about why that happened, and what (if anything) you can do to prevent it in the future. This may be editing your routine. It may be realizing that your expectations were too high, and allowing yourself more time next time. Learn what types of commitments you are historically able to handle, and what’s repeatedly gone wrong. Make adjustments from there. I have personally learned that if I’m going to say “I’ll have this out by [insert random date]” I basically need to have the project finished before I even mention it’s existence. We’re getting there. This post is being written for me.
  3. Develop a backup plan for when you have a situation come up that you can’t control. That may be having a small folder of backup posts you can throw up. Last week for me, that was asking you guys about your thoughts instead of coming up with my own. I didn’t know if that would work out, but now I do and I am ever grateful to those that responded.
  4. Find some help. If you have anything in your life (not necessarily just the content itself), see if you can delegate it. Free up some time for yourself to think or rest or deal with your situation. Sometimes all it takes is having someone sit with you in your home or office while you do the things you need to, just to feel a sense of motivation (like “Oh no, this random person I asked to be here is expecting me to do this now! Better get it done.”).
  5. Take the weight off yourself. If it’s a routine problem you’re having, it’s probably not you that has the problem but the system you’re trying to force on yourself. You don’t actually have to do everything exactly in the order that you initially told yourself you would. Make adjustments. Take time to figure out what works for you. Have a backup when it goes wrong. Honestly this applies to all things. I wrote in my “Behind the poem” for the poem Chores that my solution for not keeping up with my ever-piling-up laundry was not to “just do better at laundry”. It was to get bigger laundry baskets. I cannot do my laundry every day. But I can keep it off the floor. And that works for me.

Again, I don’t have an answer to “quality or quantity” when it comes to content creating. Quality feels like the right answer, but we all have days and sometimes we overestimate our abilities. These are just my suggestions for managing your time so that you don’t feel as much like you have to sacrifice one over the other.

If you’re ever feeling this, pleaselook for your bigger laundry basket. Find some help. Brainstorm some backup plans. And as much as you’re comfortable sharing, let people know what’s happening.

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Liberty Jensen • Writer

Liberty is a donations manager, finance student, and full-time drinker of coffee. She enjoys poetry, her cats, and spending time with her husband.

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