Quality vs Quantity: Where is the balance?

Where does one draw the line between quality work and the quantity of work? It's an argument that has been around since the beginning of human society… and we still struggle to find a balance. And for a writer, it's a question of personal standards vs the desire to make money.

Let's face reality here. If you want to get recognized for your efforts in any industry, you need both. You need the body of work to provide a range of products that you can sell, but you need to produce quality products or no one will want to buy what you have in the first place. BUT if you spend all your time on creating quality products, you won't have the quantity needed to build a back catalogue. AND if you pump out the work, focusing on quantity, then you are likely to slip in your standards and start producing sub-standard work.

It's important to find that balance. But it's not easy.

For many years now, I've been spending so much time on building my online presence and my overall platform. I'm proud of what I've accomplished. But when I started to look at what I had built vs where I would like to be, and compared it to what I still need to do, I started to cry—and not in a good way. I had fallen into the quantity trap. While I was still producing quality work in what I was doing, I was trying to do too much of everything that the most important parts of my platform were falling apart before my eyes. The things that I really wanted to do—the reasons why I became a writer in the first place—had completely disappeared from the equation.

My platform was in desperate need of an overhaul.

Step 1: Recognize where I was falling short.

The Original Mess of a Platform

When I first started out writing, I didn't know exactly where I would fit. All I knew was that I had stories in my head that I wanted to share with the world. But there was no structure or purpose to what I was doing. So, I was writing it all. I was trying it all. I was casting that net as wide as I possibly could. And it eventually led to the mess shown in the image below.

Mind map of my platform prior to 2024.

The full messy platform from prior to 2024.

There were so many aspects to this beast, ranging from my personal projects through to pen names and projects that were likely to never see the light of day. Self-publishing ventures were stagnating, and traditional publication attempts had fallen off the brick wall and crumbled into many tiny pieces. And let's not forget all the work that I had been putting into the community… and building a business…

And the little old me was turning into a tired old lady that was doing too many things and was barely treading water.

When I looked at that platform mind map, I panicked. There was no way that I was active in all of those areas. And truthfully, I wasn't. But it was the examination of the active components that made me cry.

Mind map of my platform prior to 2024. Inactive components are grayed out.

The full messy platform from prior to 2024, but with all the inactive areas dimmed.

In the image above, all the extra pen names are dimmed out, because none of them are active projects. The publishing ventures are dimmed out, because everything had been put on hold prior to 2024 (for a variety of reason). Various social media accounts were in "squatting" mode, with zero activity. But it was the Fiction Books that was missing. The fiction was missing entirely.

Here I was, working hard on nonfiction stuff, including building a following, that I forgot why I started this writing journey in the first place.

I wasn't writing fiction. I wasn't writing the stories that I wanted to be sharing with the world.

(I think now you can understand why I wanted to cry.)

The Dream Going Awry

My ultimate dream for my career is to "make a living doing what I love to do and to help others to do the same." In working towards that dream, I had spent so much time "helping others" that I forgot about myself.

I have a bad habit of giving so much time and energy to helping others achieve their goals that I was sacrificing the first (and most important) part of my own goal: to make a living doing what I love.

I was helping others, sure, but I wasn't getting paid. It was all volunteer. And while volunteering is a good thing to do, it doesn't pay the bills.

So, yeah, between the nonfiction focus (and forgetting my fiction writing) and the heavy load of volunteering, something definitely needed to be restructured.

Refocus and Restructure

So, with everything that I was doing, I needed to pull back in some areas to afford myself time to work on the projects that I really wanted to work on, primarily my fiction. This meant consolidating accounts, deleting other accounts, and properly focusing on the path ahead.

It meant building a content plan that included my blogging, social media, AND my books. It needed to include both the fiction and the nonfiction.

This was a process that I started looking at back in July 2023, when I started the rewrite of my book on building online platforms. I was examining my own platform… and I noticed the massive failings.

My platform has now shrunk, deliberately so. The image below depicts what my platform looks like now. There are still a lot of inactive components (grayed out in the image), but I'm okay with that.

Mind map of platform going forward into 2024.

How I'm hoping to restructure my platform for 2024, with some components still sitting in "squatting" mode (grayed out).

Many social media accounts have been closed. It does mean that my personal social media will need to start carrying the heavy load for Black Wolf, but it's about simplicity—and it's how things have been slowly shifting, anyway. It's my name that people are recognizing. Black Wolf is just coming along for the ride—not the other way around.

The primary goal for 2024 is to look at generating the fiction content again, while at the same time shifting the nonfiction from books to webinars and courses through third-party vendors. If time allows, I will experiment and learn about how I can make the most of certain accounts, but, in general, it's head down and generate the content that matters the most—which for me is the fiction.

This year is about ensuring that the quality vs quantity argument starts to shift towards the right quality quantity rather than the superficial stuff.

What about you? Have you looked at your own platform in detail? What sort of crazy is your own mind map for the projects you're working on? Tell me about your own experiences in the comments below.

Copyright © 2024 Judy L Mohr. All rights reserved.

This article first appeared on judylmohr.com

Posted in A Writer's Journey, Social Media Realignment and tagged , , .

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