Using metrics to motivate creativity

I've been thinking about creative goal-setting.

I possess limited quantities of "passion," the creative person's rocket fuel. Not wanting to become one of those wistful waifs, forever proclaiming my desire to "write essays" or "be an illustrator" or "see my name on the cover of an influential cultural monument," I had to resort to "metrics" (the business person's rocket fuel) for motivation.

I started setting art goals back in November 2013. That first month, I hit 50 hours of drawing. The second month, I hit 150. Then came time to set New Year's resolutions. Based on my success, I decided on 60 hours/month, or 720 hours throughout 2014.

It worked. I drew 830 hours that year. I wasn't tracking my hours before this, but I doubt I drew so much when my choice to draw or not draw relied on the answer to "BUT DO I FEEL LIKE IT?"

I set similar goals the next year, and the next. For about four years, establishing these targets served me well:

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2,650+ hours of drawing over five years. Plus a good amount of drawing and a dollop of coding. After importuning myself to "DRAW AND WRITE MORE" every single New Year's since 2007, I finally figured out how to do so. Having to hit a threshold of hours forced me to establish a habit, to realize that sitting my ass down and doing the thing mattered more than doing the thing in a particular fashion.

My overarching goals have changed, though. The metrics I once relied on no longer serve me. My skills have improved, no doubt. But if I had supplemented my input-based goal with output-based ones? Given how many hours I've drawn, I could be much closer to being an established illustration / comics artist / creative person. 

When I first started, I had to forget about producing work of quality. I just had to produce something. Now that I know how to put in the hours, I need to think about making stuff with an audience in mind, and sharing my work. 

Also, I started writing in earnest last year, and writing doesn't quite pair with setting minimum hours. So I'm in the process of rejiggering my goals to accommodate a new, rather more unruly, medium.