Personally, I literally don't give a flying fuck about overall volume until the mastering stage. (If it's loud enough to start clipping, fuck it unless it's actually noticable.) Prior to the mastering stage, all I care about is how loud the instruments are relative to each other.
And once I get to the mastering stage, I still don't care. Why? Because I can lower the input volume in Maximus. (Or raise it if necessary, but I've only done that maybe twice or thrice.)
I generally compose very loud, angry songs.