These are the questions of a person who does not create. If he painted, or wrote, or drew, or composed, or in any other way was a producing artist, he would understand how meaningless those questions are.
The answers are: 1) If it didn't mean a great deal to me, I wouldn't be wasting my time on it. 2) Not the way you want me to see him, and there's no help for it, so don't take it personally. 3) When the work is going well, there are a lot of little moments where you put something down and you think, Yes. That's what I meant. That's it exactly.
These moments are what the artist lives for. The finished product is mostly incidental, a relief, like giving birth. Here is one of those "Yes" moments:
About halfway down the inner wall was a fireplace with extended wings built onto it, onto which was grafted a network of ovens and copper piping. Trace bent over next to it, intrigued, noting the high-supported water casket and the leather bellows built into the hearth. It seemed water was heated in a copper drum over the fire, from which steam could be directed via a series of valves through various conduits, either to the tin basin or the marble table or a small spigot. Above the water drum, a vent opened every few seconds to let out a puff of scalding vapor. He touched one porcelain valve handle with the tip of his finger and it turned easily, letting a spill of water into the tin basin behind him. He heard it patter on the metal, and turned to see it run down a series of grooves, to a trough at the end of the basin, and down a tube into the floor.
Pure steampunk. But not. I still have not found anything remotely close to this in mainstream publishing, and I find that more inspiring than anything.