Quality vs. Quantity – Part One

As a writer, a type of artist if you will, I constantly have to revisit the theories of Quality vs. Quantity in regards to productivity. Anyone who practice anything will probably cross this path more often than they would like — I know I do.

For me, I have to decide whether or not I’m satisfied with the quality of what I have written before labeling it as completed. Quantity has never been a concern of my personal writings. I never consider word count; but I need for every word I write to count. I have only cared about quality. However, now that I blog, I try to stay consistent in posting. This keeps me on my toes about scheduling times to produce since I already know that I will not post anything thrown together. If I expect anyone to read and enjoy anything that I have written, I should at least see to it that I give them a level of coherency that makes the ready relatable and enjoyable. That’s what quality is for me in my art. It is very time consuming, but it’s worth my satisfaction in having just one appreciative reader.

I appreciate other peoples’ arts and the time that they put into what they do. More than anything else, I always look for the prep work. The prep work is what shows how serious a person is about their craft. Take a painter for example, at the end of the day all we see is the finished piece, and we may envision them painting it as we ask, “So what inspired you for this piece?” But consider the newspaper they collect to spread over the floors. Think about the fact that the room may have to be a certain temperature for the paints that they used. Think about all of what goes into an art before it is actually completed. That’s where the quality happens. You could just throw the turkey into an oven and let it cook; but consider the chef that prepares a brine for the turkey to soak in for sixteen hours BEFORE the cooking even starts. That’s where the quality happens. Think about the barber who cuts you a really nice hair cut; but then consider the barber who washes and conditions your hair first for more precise styling. That’s where the quality happens. Preparation is what I always look for in a completed work of any standard; that might have started when I started cooking though, to be honest.

The fact of the matter is that if I wrote one hundred books a year, and ninety of them were trash, the chances of the ten good ones making the best sellers list is still going to be pretty slim. However, if I produced twelve quality books a years, the chances of one of those twelve making it on the list would be pretty slim. The key is producing quality in large quantities. By the time your work has been filtered through to find only the good stuff that you have produced, those works may be considered lucky because of the low percentage. That’s why I refuse to label anything as complete if I am not satisfied with it. In the meantime I will focus on speeding up my methodology without sacrificing and quality.

So for this argument, I have to choose quality. I believe quantity without quality is simply a waste of time; shooting in the dark. I believe that discovered quality in a mound of quantity is luck; and I refuse to place my success in luck.

Ninja Friends

I think we all have those one or two (maybe three) people, that no matter what, you know they will always be there for you… Even though you only talk every blue moon. These are not your normal friends. You don’t see them every day; every week; or every month. I don’t even think “friend” is a proper term for them. The relationship is weird. It’s a strong bond though that’s held together by… practically nothing.

In my case though, I have two friends from high school — a guy and a girl — that I hardly ever talk to and rarely see. The girl, I haven’t seen for maybe four or five years now! She moved out of the state and out of respect of our dating relationships, our talk time had become nearly nonexistent. She has since gotten engaged and had a child (BUT she and her fiancé thought I would be an excellent Godfather; Yay me!). The guy friend, I may see once or twice a year, but when we get together it’s like we never spent any time apart. He is now married with two kids. I’ve seen him a few times since he’s been married, but not his kids. That’s how bad it is, and I really don’t understand it. Through all the space and time between both these friends we remain separated, but inseparable.

I texted a friend for some help today, and the response I got was, “Well my phone says this is Reggie but nahhhh. Reggie doesn’t text me.” So I’ve accepted the fact that maybe I’m a bad, but loyal friend. I’ve heard other people say they have friendships like this, but now I’m considering that maybe me and those people have problems in nurturing friendships.

I first thought about this one night about a month ago when my brother came over. Now my brother and I are pretty close — the kind of close that can be exhausting — like Shawn and Marlon. However, over the last two (nearly three) years, we have not spent any time together where it was only us two. So that particular night we talked from 10pm until 6am the next morning… and we realized we are no longer as similar as we once were. Since that’s my brother though, we still understand each other and know why our views are the way they are, even though they may differ now.

Shawn and Marlon Wayans in "White Chicks"
Shawn and Marlon Wayans in “White Chicks”

Now let’s consider these two friends that I have. If we really sat down to catch up, what would happen? Not at a birthday dinner, or a wedding, or some group reunion… Just one-on-one and eyeball to eyeball; what would happen?

Answer…

We would leave thinking about how awkward it was. If my own brother and I are having to relearn each other after a short three years of not living together, how much have my friends and I differed since we’ve been apart? We don’t know each other anymore. Our lives have taken different routes, and experiences have taught us different lessons. Yes, it’s a part of life and growing, but there has been no constant communications between us to make us aware of each other’s changes. It’s like seeing your friends in the sixth grade after fifth grade summer break: “Dang you got tall!” It would be to drastic and the thought of it has actually made me paranoid about getting to know my friends as full grown adults.

I believe we all have cases like this. Yours may not be as extreme as mine, but you can relate. Partake in my perspective, will you? I say all of that to say, that relationships of all kinds, have to be strengthened. It’s easy for us to focus on strengthening that bond in a dating relationship because your are fighting to keep that person. We have to do the same for siblings, childhood friends, good friends we made on the job, or wherever. If we don’t that bond that you think is there, just may not be.

The reason that this is important to me, is because I truly believe that the types of relationships you build in life will play a dominant role in determining your measure of happiness in the end. People are your greatest investment. Try not to burn any bridges and stay in good standings with everyone. Now if it can’t be done, then it can’t be done. But a lot of times we give up on people, and possibly good friends, over something as little as lack of communication.

I hear people talk about how they don’t need friends. Well you may not need friends, but everyone needs love… and you can find a lot of love in friends. So if you got throwback friends, or ninja friends (can’t see ‘em, but you know they’re there), call and tell them you appreciate them. Hang out if you can. Keep in contact and keep the relationship what it should be. I mean, I have friends in my favorites list that I don’t even remember what they look like. I’m a bad case, so don’t be like me. Call your friends now… before you realize the number you have saved for them is their pager number.

Week 8 Recap

Another successful week has come and gone. My Daniel story still has not made its way onto my schedule. I will not say that I am going to do it this week, because for the last two weeks I have said that I would get to it and have not. So do I still consider last week a success? Yes. Yes I do.

The enjoyment of my work comes from the enjoyment of my readers. This week has been very rewarding for me. I have received some very encouraging feedback, and this week in particular readers have expressed how much they have enjoyed themselves in the Park. So therefore, I appreciate everyone who took the time to read. Searching for time and fighting the feeling of being unproductive becomes a lot easier when you know there are people who enjoy what you do. Many times I write as though I have the entire United States as an audience. Even though I do not, I carry the image to always produce. So when I hear positive feedback, it means a lot. So thank you all.

On Monday, November 3, I wrote on the appreciation that you should have for your own life. A lot of times we lose focus on our lives. In doing so, food, shelter and clothing become things that  don’t matter. If we keep these three things in mind, with God at the forefront, we should all be able to know that we live pretty good lives. If we go through things or have been through things, take them as learning experiences and keep moving forward. Always focus on what’s ahead and take the time that you have to be grateful and happy instead of complaining about what you do not have.

Tuesday, November 5, I wrote an impromptu essay about fighting off the pressures of name-calling in order to reinvent yourself. I was actually just sitting and thinking about a few changes I have to make in order to become a better individual. As I was thinking about how minor the changes were that I have to make, I started to compare myself (which is not always a good thing to do) to people who have to make major changes to their entire lifestyles. I only have to worry about making the changes; I don’t have to think about making the changes along with people talking about you and discouraging you from moving forward. The hardest part of making changes for the better, will be people who remind you of what you were. If you can get past that though, everything will be okay.

Thursday, November 6, I had the pleasure of attending a lecture held by Professor Leslie M. Harris of Emory University, on her book Slavery and Freedom in Savannah. My perspective was opened to a lot of things that I thought I already knew. (I may owe the British a personal apology for my biased United Stated views, but I’ll see after I finish the book.) I learned a lot about the history of Georgia and slavery that I had not known in an hour-long lecture. I look forward to completing the read. As far as Leslie Harris is concerned, she was a delightful person that I am glad to have the pleasure in meeting. She shared some valuable insight with me concerning making progress. I’m sure she is very well rehearsed in making everyone she talk to feel like some type of special, but nonetheless, I appreciated her wisdom and look forward to using it to move forward.

Saturday, November 8, (when I should have been doing my recap) I completed Bridges. I just had fun doing that article. I brought back some good childhood memories. I will be hunting on Amazon for Three Billy Goats Gruff, The Great Mouse Detective (it’s on Netflix; check it out), and Disney’s Peter Pan (1953). I just enjoyed raking my own brain, trying to figure out how I came to develop an admiration for something I had no idea I cared about. That was just fun and I really enjoyed writing it.

Well, that’s all for last week. I haven’t had much time to prepare anything for this week, but I’m sure there will be something we will find to chat about. I added a Contact page to the blog, so please feel free to reach out with topics or questions that you may want my Perspective on as a guy, a Christian, a Black-American, a writer or whatever. Even if we disagree, that’s good too because disagreements raise more room for thinking than two of the same perspectives.

Have a great week ahead! Keep an open perspective! Show compassion!

And smile… Life is better when you smile. I found that it’s easier to meet people, greet people, and even get through to people if you address them first with a smile. So try to smile a bit more this week! 🙂