I'm terrified of this draft. Have I mentioned that? It's not procrastination that keeps me from writing these days -- it's sheer fear. If I'm to make my new October deadline, this is the last major draft I have time for before I hand it in to agent and editor. Assuming they approve it, there'll be another draft after that with their comments, but still, this one feels remarkably final. The story and structure are already set, but draft 3 (part-completed) set the characters, and draft 4 is setting the tone. Every time I sit down to write, I find myself scared that I'm going to get it wrong, again. And that this time, there won't be time to fix it.
I'm scared that if it isn't good, isn't appealing to the critics or the audience (which I realize are not necessarily the same things at all), that HarperCollins will lose tons of money on it, and then no one will ever buy a book from me again. That the other books I have part-written in my head will be still-born, to be self-published at best, if published at all. The economics frighten me. I honestly don't care about selling a lot of copies -- I just want to sell enough so that they ask me for another book. That's all. That's a lot.
And leaving aside the publishing aspect, there's the question of art, and beauty, and saying something worthwhile and interesting and different and strange. I want this book, my first novel, to be so much. It's impossible for any book to live up to that kind of expectation, I think, and I'm trying hard to set that aside, to just let it be its own lovely creature, rather than 'the most important book of my writing career,' as my brain keeps trying to tell me it will be.
The inside of my head is a confused place, these days.