It's funny: I was chatting with some other authors at my reading last week with Laura Dave, and we all agreed on a few things: 1) the more books you write, the easier it gets. (More on that in a minute.) And 2) the more books you write, the more you realize that this is just a job (a great job, but a job nevertheless) and the less exciting it is to hit The End.
What I felt when finishing this one was...relief. :) Well, that's not true. I reread the last 20k, and actually, if I do say so myself, I love, love, love, love it. BUT, when I finished my first one, I was nervous about selling it/AMAZED that I'd written a book, and when I finished my second one, I was THRILLED to discover that I wasn't a one-hit wonder, and this time, I just thought, "Well, thank the sweet lord, because I'm under contract and if I hadn't finished it or if I'd really tanked it, my career would take a real nosedive." Ha. Not exactly what you'd expect.
I shouldn't minimize it too much, to be fair. I am genuinely thrilled at not only what I've produced, but at the fact that I produced it both well and at all, but yes, there is a very different feeling now than four years ago with my first one. This is what I do now. I write books. After this one, I will write another one. It's a wonderful, wonderful job, but it's my job now. There are expectations, contracts, and a need to prove myself each time I publish. I love it. I'm not complaining. Don't even think for a second that I'm complaining, but the feeling between my first book and now is so, so different. I don't know - maybe the same as that honeymoon stage in a marriage and what real life marriage actually is? Is this making sense to anyone? :)
The good news is, as I alluded to above, that every book, in some ways, is easier. This one was harder for a lot of reasons - pressure, expectations, plot complications, a difficult protagonist - but know that I know HOW to write a book, well, that part makes it a hell of a lot easier. I know when to crank up the tension; I know when to throw in more conflict; I know when to dial back characters and how to pace various plot lines.
I don't know - I hope this post isn't too rambling! I guess what I'm trying to say is THANK GOD I AM DONE!! But now I have to write another one... LOL.
Any other authors out there understand what I mean?