My father indulged in what he termed to be "wood playing." This is because it was not "work" to him: it was his time to relax, and construct beautiful things. He would spend hours out there in his shop, creating wooden works of art. And he always made sure to have the right materials and tools to work with.
To follow his example, I would describe what I do as "playing with words." This is not to say that writing is not work. It is a LOT of work, and the outcome is never certain. However, it is an accomplishment, and provides a thrill that cannot be surpassed.
Words are rarely beautiful by themselves. They are tools used to construct sentences, which in turn are used to build paragraphs. A story is technically a collection of paragraphs designed for a specific purpose. But it is the care with which the words are arranged, and the energy behind them that makes the magic.
In your mind, a story starts out as a base concept, not unlike a piece of wood. The choice of words serve to mold and shape the idea. You trim off the excess and sand the story down to make it smooth and appealing. Sometimes you paint it with italics and underlines or the skillful use of punctuation. But it is the workmanship which gives the tale its luster and transforms a simple idea into a work of art.