Are you writing enough?

Picasso's artworks include more than 1,800 paintings, 1,200 sculptures, 2,800 ceramics, and 12,000 drawings, without mentioning prints, rugs, and tapestries, but only a tiny fraction of those are recognized today as great works of art. 1

Reading Adam Grant's latest book, Originals, I learned about the fact that many artists—such as Picasso, Beethoven, Mozart, or even Shakespeare—created hundreds (if not thousands) of artworks that have been forgotten.

I write (at least) two hundred words every day.

(That's my practice to get more fluent and to "show up" day after day.)

The key is in not missing a single day—reinforcing my writing habit with an easy word count I can complete in a matter of minutes.

When the night comes and I haven't written, this exercise inevitably turns into an obligation. I quickly pour ideas that might end up being developed at a later date.

On the contrary, it's a joy to overpass your personal goal early in the morning with ample time to work on your drafts.

Let's do the math.

Two hundred words a day for thirty days makes 6,000 words per month.

Six thousand words a month for twelve months makes 72,000 words per year.

It's easy(er)—no matter what you write—to find something worth publishing among thousands and thousands of words (than it is to start from scratch).

So, when daily writing, I go for quantity instead of quality.

Selectively, I'll review and refine old drafts in an effort to publish something worth your time.

And I truly hope I'm doing a good job.

In Grant's words, "Many people fail to achieve originality because they generate a few ideas and then obsess about refining them to perfection."

In short: write, and write a lot.

It's more likely to get good ideas when you're generating lots of them.

  1. Grant, Adam M., and Sheryl Sandberg. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World. New York, New York: Viking, 2016. Kindle version. 

June 9, 2020
Nono Martínez Alonso

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