Great description of the experience.
Several years on and probably 1000s of coals later it still gives me a real lift to get a glowing coal. Some coals are "vin ordinaire" while others are champagne stuff. The more the striving the bigger the reward.
Most recent satisfying one was last week - to achieve fire with just what I could find in a small area, applying lessons learned from previous failures. Chose a good bit of dead elderberry wood (with options of a range of diameters for the drill point), found and split thinly a piece of cherry for the hearth (thin means that it dries out better from the heat of drilling I think), and hand drilled to a coal. Still feeling a glow from it.
Richard, London, UK
If at first you don't succeed - pause, reflect, change something and try again.