Writing something huge and sprawling and multi-faceted, I’m always struck by something I heard Steven Brust say many years ago when I was still in BabyWriter mode and he was on a panel. “Every sequel we write is fanfic of ourselves.” Now, this was around 2007 or so, so this statement got a bit of pearl-clutching in the room. “Fanfic? Professional writers?” So he clarified and expanded his thought: “We are SO GEEKED OUT by the sandbox we built, we want to play more in it.”
This is a thought I keep coming back to. That even as creators, we are also fans of the thing we make. We love it SO DAMN MUCH that we want to keep diving into it. Sometimes I will have reactions to the work, my brain goes very, “BUT DO THIS THING”, when said thing is not particularly useful or helpful to, you know, DOING THE WRITING. But yet my brain seizes upon it and wants it done. It took me a bit to realize that it was the part of my brain that REACTS like a fan. The same drive to, say, write fanfic, make fanart, edit fanvids, etc., was still a part of my overall fannish reaction. Even if it was a reaction to my own work.