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"Once I stopped drinking, I found all attempts to be a "great" writer or even a "good" writer to be both exhausting and somehow beside the point. I began to sense that writing was about something larger than "career." I began to sense that writing was about writing itself. What I needed to do was simply write and not worry so much about judging it. But how?

I was told by screenwriters Jerry Ayres and Diana Gould, and by nonfiction writer Maurice Zolotow, to post a little sign by my desk that said something like, "Ok, Universe. You take care of the quality. I'll take care of the quantity."

- Julia Cameron, THE RIGHT TO WRITE, p. 103

I can't tell you how much Cameron's words speak to me. There are times when I find myself paralyzed by an effort to create great writing or even good writing. It is those times when I forget about quality and just write, those times when I lose myself in a flood of words, that progress is made. I think this is important for all of us writers to remember this. That there is meaning and majesty in just writing words, that if we have a little faith, they might one day be good. Or great.

I think that this isn't just wisdom for writers, but wisdom for all of us - parents, people, regular human beings. I think that when we fixate too intently on quality - how great, or good, our days are, whether we are succeeding in some heralded Platonic sense, we trip ourselves up. When we allow ourselves just to be, to live, to go, I think we are often better off.

As an aside, I am realizing something kind of cool. I am realizing that most writing advice can really be expanded to become living advice. This is just one example, this exhortation of sorts to sometimes focus on quantity over quality. (I know there are often instances when the reverse wisdom is in effect, say with friendship. Fewer quality relationships seem to be preferable to a plethora of poor relationships...) Anyway, I dig the idea that in researching how to become a better writer, I am in some sense researching how to become a better person. What does this mean exactly?

Okay, cutting myself off. This is getting a wee bit out of hand.

But these? They are words. Now I'm leaving it up to the Universe to imbue them with some quality...

{P.S. It is not lost on me that Julia Cameron gave up drinking and that her writing seemed to improve after doing so. I'm not sure why she abandoned drinking, but I do intend to find out.}

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Have you any clue what this blog post is really about? Do you think that advice in one facet of life can often be translated to advice in another, or to advice about life itself? When does quality trump quantity and vice versa?

Making My Way.

What We Avoid.