The Flaws of Quality Over Quantity

The Flaws of Quality Over Quantity
Photo by Steve Johnson / Unsplash

How often do you perfectly accomplish something the first time?


After we gain more experience, we look back at our first attempt and see flaws we previously couldn't. People say you should focus on Quality Over Quantity (QOQ). This mindset needs a revision.

The Problem

QOQ ignores the countless bad ideas necessary to surface our diamonds. This thinking emphasizes a good outcome rather than the failures and botched prototypes that lead to improvement.

Successful artists don’t practice QOQ. Instead, they built a massive volume of work before stumbling into their best.

The Quantity Effect

  • Michael Jackson: Considered 700 songs for “Thriller,” narrowed down to 9 for release
  • Picasso: 13,500 paintings, 100,000 prints, 34,000 illustrations, and 300 sculptures created over his life
  • Steven King: Has published 70+ books and stated that he writes 2,000 words a day

You may only name a few famous works from these artists, but look at how prolific they were. Imagine if Thriller picked the first nine songs instead of exploring all 700.

If you practice anything creative...

I encourage you to spend more time mucking around and stop focusing on perfection. Pump out many experiments, especially at the beginning of your creative journey.

I’ve finished 200+ songs, and I still have buckets to learn. Create a lot and fail often. Your work will suck for a long time, but you’ll get better one disaster after another.