"My masterpiece was never the big break you saw, it is the numerous things I did before getting the break, which went unnoticed. With no followers but a passion in heart I always did the first thing that occured to me, now I do what pleases you."
—From the "Confessions of an Artist"
More often than not the days you look back are not the days you spent counting your sales figures and medallions, it usually is your first pay check, the time you spent figuring out something in solitude on your own, the time you spent with your family.
Try this for me:
Close your eyes and remember the moment that you think is the most closest to you or most memorable to you. Don't strain yourself.
If your answer was something along the lines of the number of copies of books you sold, you are not the same person that wrote this. Please go back in time to when you wrote this and try to realize/analyse what happened in between.
For what it's worth, I think it is perfectly normal to succumb to the seductive allure that being publicly prolific provides, but it can never satiate the ego beyond the moment. I have been trying the above excercise every year since 2016 and not once have I found myself going for the quantitative aspects of life other than the time I wanted to spend doing things I liked to do but couldn't because I was busy impressing other people with my pseudo-prolific endeavors.
Being prolific is not wrong, it must come from within, for its own sake; not as a means to lure someone else into praising you. Never lasts, Leaves you wanting for more pretty much always.
As for quality, they too are unsustainable in some sense for an artist can never be satisfied with it or call it done, but at least you know that it cannot be described in words. Enough to throw Goodhart out of the window. Or as Christopher Alexander would say, that which carries the quality witout a name lives.
Think again, it was never the number of hours spent on an essay, it was always the essay.
See Related: Never look for ideas for the sake of it
Conversations with Jaffer