This anecdote comes from a really interesting article on quantity leading to quality:
“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: 50 pounds of pots rated an ‘A’, 40 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.”
I’m not as prolific as some, but I attribute a great deal of what success I have to focusing on 50 pounds of pots.
There are many different ways to do art. I’m grateful I avoided a tremendous amount of pressure to spend years theorizing about the pots and just threw myself into making lots of shitty ones, and slowly got better at them.
They say it takes a million words of crap. Or ten thousand hours of practice. I did probably half a million words of crap before my first sale. I’ve published nearly 900,000 words. I’m starting to really feel like I’m getting decent at pot throwing, and am looking forward to work on glazing and decoration soon.