The best description I’ve ever heard of the songwriting process, and I’ve long forgotten who said it, is that the songwriter is creating a spell with the music. First they mesmerize themselves, and then they mesmerize the audience. I’ve often thought of that when playing the same chords and melody over and over and over again. It helps to think I’ve got to get the magic just right. I’m not sure if the same applies to other creating. As you pointed out, Tess, some is more immediate than others. But I did attend a lecture by the great Eileen Myles who said that writers have to keep the audience turning the page, while visual artists don’t have that problem. It’s all there at once, just as you said. At first I thought that was a ridiculous point, but then I found myself reading one of her novels and seeing how she left me wanting more at the end of each chapter. As a writer, I’ve never been fully able to differentiate the act of writing from the finished product. I’m happy to mesmerize myself as I write, and I can easily be pulled into a spell by a good writer. As for what happens for my readers, I almost can’t think about it.