Prolific Creation

Prolific creation is the idea that the way to increase the quality of your work is to be more prolific, and increase the quantity of it.

My favorite parable about this concept is the story of two groups in a ceramics class: quality pots vs. quantity of pots

Quote from The Year Without Pants, from the CEO of Automattic:

But all that analysis just keeps you on the sidelines. Often you're better off flipping a coin and moving in any clear direction. Once you start moving, you get new data regardless of where you're trying to go.

From Letter to a Young Songwriter:

Strive to be prolific.

Notice I didn’t say ‘aim to be great,’ or ‘just have fun’. Both of those are stupid directives, because they’re overly vague. And trust me, the two most frustrating things you can get caught up in are “Will I be great? Am I good enough?” and “Am I having fun?” You have a far greater shot at tasting greatness and fun if you simply write as much as you possibly can, and then some.

Don't try to be the best, and don't try to be original.

To be more prolific, you have to give yourself permission to write junk. Not everything is going to be good, and that's ok. Work that doesn't succeed teaches.

Embodied in the cult of done manifesto

Creation Cultivates Expertise

Shipping often is one of the fastest ways to gain expertise.

Your work is often smarter than you. Creating and sharing more is how you get improve.

Creating more helps you see where've you been, so that you may better see where to go next.

The function of most work is to better inform the creator how the make the few pieces of work that will matter.

The 3 R's of building on your work:



Releasing (specifically, early and frequent releasing)

Prolific creation requires shipping your work, and can be a form of learn in public.

Prolific creation helps you get more reps in against Resistance, however I don't think it ever gets easier.

On Production Ready

Prolific creation was one of the themes that emerged organically from season one of Production Ready. From the season summary:

When I joined Devanooga and saw someone who was consistently shipping crazy side projects, I knew I had to talk to them. Then, I saw the theme come up again and again.

Philip Morgan published every day. By writing and publishing, he was able to iterate on ideas and cultivate expertise quickly. Itamar talked about it in terms of productivity. Shawn Wang spoke about it in terms of learn in public. Tom Critchlow spoke about writing as a way to explore ideas.

Related episodes

Prolific Creation Exercises

Further Reading