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.