I’m in the middle of reading “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance“, and the author brings up a good question:
How do you define quality?
You know what it is, but you don’t know what it is. Pirsig (the author) is specifically speaking of writing in the section I am referring to, but I think it can be attributed to many things.
Many of the people I supervise ask questions about how to do certain parts of their jobs better, or to improve the quality of their work. I can give them examples of what has worked in the past, but it is very hard for me to say “This is specifically what you need to do”.
I have a hard time with this question when talking about the quality of things. I mean, a $400 blender that won’t break on you is definitively of better quality than a $25 blender that can’t blend as well and breaks more often. However, when discussing writing for instance, I’ve always had issues. What makes a good poem good? It really is (partly) in the eye of the beholder, yes? And how would you explain to someone specifically how to have quality writing?