I've been thinking lately about how to become more prolific.
The equal-odds rule says that the average publication of any particular scientist does not have any statistically different chance of having more of an impact than any other scientist's average publication. In other words, those scientists who create publications with the most impact, also create publications with the least impact, and when great publications that make a huge impact are created, it is just a result of "trying" enough times. This is an indication that chance plays a larger role in scientific creativity than previously theorized.
I look at the sheer volume of work produced by someone like Einstein in science, or Robert Heinlein in fiction, and y'know what? Much of their stuff isn't good. Much of Einstein's observations outside of physics are pretty bad and off-base, he recommends courses of political action that were tried later and led to totalitarianism. If he were alive today, he'd no doubt say "mea culpa" - "I was wrong", especially in his opinions on the Soviet Union.
But it doesn't matter, because his good work is incredible. Even trying to understand special relativity makes it clear how amazing his work is (best guide to relativity for laymen I've found). It doesn't matter if you get some things wrong if you get one or two important things right.
Stephen King is like that. He's written a ton of books. I read On Writing by him, and it was a good read. After that, I went back and read some of his early bestsellers. You know what the interesting part of it was? A lot of times he seems to "run out of gas" and he just ends the book shortly thereafter, often in a sloppy and unenjoyable fashion. He ships it out the door.
But he's worth millions of dollars. And occasionally he's produced a masterpiece like The Stand.
So I've been thinking lately:
1. I want to ship more things out the door.
2. This means I'll have to ship work that's less obsessed and perfectionist-worked-over.
3. This means starting and running with "just okay" ideas, completely them quickly, and shipping them when they come out.
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