There isn’t a person who can create quality work non-stop. I assure you it’s impossible.
Maybe consistently, but not non-stop.
The artist who puts out a dozen drawings every week has to sacrifice a lot in order to find the time not only to do the work, but to think about it too. She sacrifices her sleep schedule, a social life, and – more importantly for our intents – future quality.
Yes, a sculptor could build a thousand unique pieces in a month, but they sacrifice quality and consistency in their style as a result too.
On the other hand is the creative who balances everything non-creative (going out to the bar or to a movie, visiting museums, lazily watching television during a weeknight), with their creative work.
The person who balances their creativity with rest, or by stepping away from the work to do some other activity, is going to be rewarded with an intense quality in their work.
It’s not complicated to explain why this is the case.
When we dedicate ourselves solely to repetitively doing the task at hand – painting, drawing, dancing, writing, performing – we don’t give ourselves time to reflect, to contemplate where we could improve, to ask: “What could be next?”
This is true both of our creative potential as it is for our neurological well-being, as scientists have recently discovered more evidence that indicates sleep helps replenish brain cells.
But if you’re constantly slaving away at the work, day-in and day-out, when will you have time to replenish your ideas? To evaluate what you’ve done?
In the end, creating 1,000 works can end up producing one good one, but only if you’re taking the time to step back and look at the 999 that came before.
This type of advice can seem counterintuitive or even hypocritical, but it’s not. All it comes down to is balancing the amount of work you do with the amount of time you step back from it to think on it.
It’s not a matter of balancing laziness or procrastination, it’s a matter of balancing the action with the rest.