A few days ago, I whipped through revisions of the first chapter. I was really pleased with myself -- I even got partway through the second chapter. Fixed some structural problems, cleaned up some characterization. I thought it was all good.
And then I read some other people's books. And suddenly, that chapter, it is no longer seeming anywhere near what it should be. It is not as beautiful as it could be, not as compelling, not as wise. It may not have anything obviously wrong with it now, but it could be much more right than it is. And I find myself thoroughly intimidated by the chapter, and the book overall.
I'm going to work on it again today. I may have to make another cup of tea first, to get up the energy. But I spent three days travelling and one day procrastinating, so I think I've used up all my current goofing off time. Most of yesterday was reading; I finished Silverman's book, which was quite interesting. Disconcerting reading a memoir when you know the author.
I had somthing of a minor meltdown yesterday (which Kev kindly talked me through) about how much time and energy and money I've spent on the academic job search. In retrospect, I wish I'd done a much smaller search, really focused on the jobs I was eager to take, rather than applying to all of the ones I could take. I got another request for an interview yesterday, from Indiana State, and I turned it down; nothing against their department, which may well be wonderful, but I just realized that I'm no longer willing to move to Terre Haute, IN. I was last fall, when I applied, but not anymore. In part, that's because of the Vermont College job; getting that has satisfied a lot of my desire for an academic job (and helped financially too).
All this academic job stuff has been really distracting; I need to keep my eye on the real focus. Maybe I'll take a full-time academic job, maybe I won't. I love teaching, and academia; if I do get offered and take such a job, I'll do it to the best of my abilities. But regardless of what happens with academia, I need to make writing this novel, writing it as well as I can, my first and foremost priority.
And try not to be too scared of it.