The “Quality vs. Quantity” Debate Misses the Most Important Foundation of Writing

Your mindset matters most of all

There’s one thing that writers seem to like to argue about more than anything else, and it’s also the thing I’m most sick of seeing.

That thing?

The ongoing debate over quality versus quantity.

You don’t have to look far to see a battle unfolding on your screen. Just browse your Medium homepage or a writer’s group you’re part of on Facebook, and you’re practically guaranteed to see two completely opposite stances on the topic.

The comments section of each article or post is likely to be a dumping ground for supporters and opponents, all arguing that their way is the “right” way.

One writer thinks that producing a volume of work on a consistent basis is the only way to reach success, while another thinks that focusing on quality is the way to go.

You Don’t Need To Pick A Side

The first writer focuses on the habit of writing daily and building a consistent publishing schedule. They publish frequently, sometimes more than once per day. As a result, their volume of work adds up quickly. In just one year, they’ll have a portfolio of hundreds of articles.

The second writer spends hours working on one article. They may spend a lot of time researching and curating relevant ideas, quotes, etc. from several sources. They may only publish once a week, or a couple of times per month. They’re focused on quality, ensuring that they’re putting out something they’re proud of, and that they think offers high value to the reader.

Writers seem to think they have to pick a side—and that once they do, there’s no going back. They must then vehemently defend the side they’ve chosen, marching valiantly into battle with anyone who voices an opposing view.

But the thing that nobody seems to realize is that there’s something that matters much more than quality or quantity—and that’s where we should all be focused, especially in the beginning.

You First Need To Get Your Mindset Right

Rather than spending precious time and energy picking a side, looking for evidence that we’ve made the right decision, and then defending our choice, we should be working on ourselves.

“Your frame of mind before you start an endeavor is vastly more important than the endeavor itself. This is the difference between an amateur and a professional; the beginner begins his or her task without much thought, but the elite professional first gets him or herself in the right frame of mind, then acts.”

— Anthony Moore

If you’re just writing and writing with no belief in yourself, what good is it going to do?

We think that once we see the “proof” that we’re succeeding, then we’ll believe in ourselves. But this is approaching it backward.

In his article, Anthony Moore describes how he spent close to five years approaching his writing with a “hustle” mindset, but eventually realized that it was getting him nowhere.

After all that time and effort, he was still seeing piddly results.

“I thought more action was the answer. So I doubled down on action, again and again — I was always doing ‘more.’ But after 54 grueling months, ‘more’ hadn’t helped.”

— Anthony Moore

He finally realized that the problem wasn’t that he wasn’t trying hard enough or putting in enough effort; it was that his mindset wasn’t right.

It wasn’t until he shifted his focus from action to mindset that he finally started seeing results.

If Limiting Beliefs Are Running The Show, Action Doesn’t Matter

The irony is that the quantity vs. quality debate is actually futile.

Until you’ve spent some time working on your beliefs and re-framing your mindset, your publishing schedule is of little importance.

We can “pick a side” all we want; but it doesn’t mean anything.

There’s no guarantee that what worked for one person will work for another, no matter which route they’ve chosen.

If we commit to writing and publishing daily, there’s no guarantee that the results we want will come any faster than if we slow things down and publish less frequently.

However, if we work on our beliefs first, and then begin writing from a place of conviction, genuinely believing that we have what it takes and that the life we want is possible, the road to success may end up being much shorter than we ever expected, regardless of whether we’re publishing multiple times a day, once a day, weekly, or once every few weeks.

Everything Starts In The Mind

We need to remember that the timelines other writers have shared with us are not rules; it’s just their personal experience.

We get way too caught up in trying to do what other people did. We believe that if we just find an “expert” to copy, that we’ll achieve the same results they did (hopefully in a shorter timeframe).

But that kind of thinking ignores a glaring difference: we’re not them. The only thing that is guaranteed is that their experiences will be completely different from ours. They have different knowledge and insights, and are exposed to a different environment than us.

We have no idea what else went into that person’s success. All we see is their publishing schedule and word counts.

We think that if we just put the same amount of words down on a page and send them out into the world on the same days they did, that their success will find us.

But the truth is that the things we can’t see (their belief in themselves, attitude, mindset) probably played the biggest role of all in their success.

As Anthony Moore says:

“Outward accomplishment is always preceded by mental creation; you must envision your future first before you can secure it.”

Life is an adventure, and learning is never finished. Sharing insights, experiences, and lessons learned to inspire your curiosity and creativity.

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