Ahh, your post takes me back to the nervous anticipation of my first roll. I was expecting everything to go wrong but to my amazement it all went well for me for my first development. From reading your great description I think the reason that my process went more smoothly in comparison was in the preparation. These are a few of the things I did to make the process run smoothly, and may help for your next go too...

I did a lot of reading of forums and such, looking for any tips or traps to avoid, and I also got one of the old-timers from my photography club to show me one-on-one how to go about it prior to going solo. This meant I knew what to expect regarding the tape, scissors, etc. I reckon you've progressed past that stage though.

I practiced loading the reel in daylight a few times with a sacrificed roll of film. I figured that a few bucks spent on one wasted roll of film for practicing may save me a few wasted films and lost images if I mangled the process in the bag when trying to do it for real. That meant that I knew exactly how to find the guide-slots in the reel, etc.

This is the best tip I can offer: I typed up an easy step by step guide and printed it out to have alongside me during the processing. It just shows each step of the process, short and to the point, and how long to do each one for. At the top I also have a list of the individual developing times for the few films that I regularly use. An easy-to-follow checklist like this will avoid the panic mid-process. Even after plenty of experience I still keep the checklist there to follow every time.

As I mentioned, my first go went great, and do did the next few. But I have to admit that after that I had a bad run of films that would get jammed part way while loading them on the reel, resulting in kinks and bends