Over the weekend, I thought I would do a quick tally of how many Things I have written over the last year or so. That seemed simple enough, just a matter of counting files. I soon discovered that the task was not so simple, though, because of all the different types of Things I write and all of the different places I put those Things. So I gave up getting a precise count, and instead I settled for scanning my writing folder on my Mac hard drive, iCloud on my Mac and iPad, my DropBox Scrivener projects, the odd bits of notes I have made in Vesper on my iPhone, the work related Things I have stored elsewhere, and on an on and on until I decided I had scanned enough.
By any reasonable measure, I have written well over a hundred Things in the past year. Some are work Things, some are blog Things. Some are essay Things, some are memoir Things, some are fiction Things. I have attempted to craft maudlin hillbilly stories, dystopian science fiction, humor, and romance. I even made one ill-fated stab at erotica. I made a promise to myself a year ago to fight my perfectionist tendencies by writing many Things to see what would happen. What happened as a result was a proliferation of files containing those Things.
You know what else happened? Even though most of my Things aren't very good, I really like 4 or 5 of them. Those are pretty Good Things. I figure that about 3% of the Things I have written over the past year are truly Good Things, which sounds like a pretty bad batting average, but do you know how many Good Things I wrote in the twelve months before I promised myself to write many Things? You guessed it: zip, zero, zilch.
So, writing no Things at all under the paralysis of perfectionism resulted in no Good Things, which seems obvious enough. Getting over myself and writing many Things resulted in at least a few Good Things, and those make all the other Things worth the effort. I even have a feeling that my Good Thing to Bad Thing ratio is improving of late, now that I have practiced by writing so many Things.
Maybe if you are worried that your Things aren't the Good Things you want, the answer is to stop worrying so much about making each Thing a Perfect Thing; instead, write many Things, and some of them just may be Good Things.