Haruki Murakami writes extensively on the writing process in What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, reflecting on the purpose of one’s work:
In the novelist’s profession, there’s no such thing as winning and losing. Maybe numbers of copies sold, awards won, and critics’ praise serve as outstanding standards for accomplishment in literature, but none of them really matter. What’s crucial is whether your writing attains the standards you’ve set for yourself. Failure to reach the bar is not something you can easily explain away. When it comes to other people, you can always come up with a reasonable explanation, but you can’t fool yourself.
Haruki Murakami enjoyment of jazz, beer and sex is evident from his short story collection The Elephant Vanishes. His drifting, daydreaming style does not lend itself so much to story and character as to what writing actually might be:
Memory is like fiction; or else it’s fiction that’s like writing. This really came home to me once I started writing fiction, that memory seemed a kind of fiction, or vice versa. Either way, no matter how hard you try to put everything neatly into shape, the context wanders this way and that, until finally the context isn’t even there anymore. You’re left with this pile of kittens lolling all over one another. Warm with life, hopelessly unstable. And then to put these into salable items, you call them finished products – at times it’s downright embarrassing just to think of it. Honestly, it can make me blush. And if my face turns that shade, you can be sure everyone’s blushing.*
(From The Last Lawn of the Afternoon.)