When I finished my first book, back in January, it was in a panicked frenzy. Last year I gave myself a deadline -- the end of January -- to finish the first draft and over the course of the year I had fallen slightly behind. Not one to be defeated, I knuckled down, forsook sleep and socialization, and listened to far too much Rob Zombie as I completed the final chapters. As a result, when the moment of victory arrived (the morning of the deadline) didn't feel....well, victorious. I was excited, but more than that I was relieved. I had put so much pressure on myself to meet my self-imposed deadline that I couldn't enjoy clearing the first and perhaps largest hurdle of my career.
With that in mind, when I started my current project, it was with a more nebulous finish date in mind. I would do my best to have it finished by the second week in June, but if that didn't happen, that was ok because I'd still finish it. As you may remember from Damn the plot! Full speed ahead!
(http://ninjakeyboard.blogspot.com/2012/05/damn-plot-full-speed-ahead.html) I had a bit of a setback when I got distracted by all the cool things I could do in this story. As a result, I had to delete half of what I'd written. Yeah, big ouch.
The second week of June has come and gone. I'm still haven't finished, but I'm close. So close, I can taste it. Now instead of telling everyone to go away because I have X days to finish, I'm telling them to go away because I want to finish. No, I need to finish. Not because I can't bear to leave this story incomplete (although that is a factor), but because I feel the excitement that was absent the first time. I feel like a virgin bride. The wedding night is over, the jitters are gone, and idiotic fears have been laid to rest. I can sit back, relax, enjoy the journey, and have fun with it. And I am having fun with it. I've reached the fevered pique where I don't want to eat, sleep, go to work, or soak up the first rays of summer. I want to finish and unavoidable commitments (like my day job) just prolong the anticipation. This frenzy is different and so much better than the last. At times I wonder if I should leave the story alone for a little while so I can continue to relish it a little longer, but no. That would delay the finish and the finish is what I need. I need to bask in the afterglow.
Do I regret that I wasn't able to the first time? No, because the whole point of there being a first time is so you can get those embarrassing fumbles out of the way. As Mother would say, the worst is over. Now I can explore, delve, and find out just how goooood I can be. ;-)