In my “other” life, I make my living as an instructor/teacher, and I have had my classes do a simple comparison and contrast on two articles. Amazingly, they did not take to the assignment with the greatest of ease. I was basically talking to myself for most of the lecture. While they probably got nothing out of the lesson, I actually learned something. (Quick note: I don’t know if saying that I taught myself something is a new level of honesty or arrogance, but I am just going to go with it for the moment)
The premise of both articles my classes had to analyze was the ideal or better method of self, societal, and community improvement. One asserted that consistent, good acts was the only sure method of keeping a community. The other argued that the inspiration and aspirations of extraordinary individuals and events are what changes history and society.
Now, I am not currently concerned with the best methodology of changing the world; instead, I wondered if these two opposing theories could be applied to my creative interests. What is the better, more effective method of creating?
I know it may seem like a ridiculous question, but seriously which is the better option? Would you rather be able to write consistently at a 6 or 7 out of 10 scale quality or have more fluctuations but be able to write the occasional piece that is nothing short of incredible?
I honestly believe that I would prefer the whole “peaks and valleys” version if I knew that a few of the peaks would be the kind of creative output that stands the test of time. If just one out of every 1000 pieces I wrote had even the slightest hint of the power and effect of the authors who have made me think, cry, and feel every conceivable emotion, I would be completely okay with the other 999 stories, poems, etc. being utter pieces of shit.
I know most advice on writing says to write every day with the intent to get to the point of being able to write the great and memorable pieces. Obviously, you cannot skip over this necessary time of progress and work, but even after going through that I would still rather have a few moments of complete, amazing output than just a constant drudge of material. I don’t know if that is good or bad.
So what do you think? Is consistency or the occasional extraordinary a better method of being creative and producing?