There is, every time I pick up the pen or fire up the computer, the hope that this book will be the One. The Prince Charming of a book that will bring complete and utter happiness. The one so well put together it could make angels, or at the very least my editor, weep with joy upon reading it. It will become the new Great American Novel, put into the cannon, filed next to the works of luminaries like Fitzgerald and Cather.
And, as the writing continues I come to realize--well, okay, truly I've realized it all along--that the book will not reach those soaring heights. Sure, it's a good story and sometimes I can actually open the file and say, "Hey, this isn't too bad." Make no mistake, I love these characters and am very invested in them, I love the twists and turns that happen as I write the draft. I just wonder if it's good enough. That's not a productive place to be. Trying for greatness is fine, but perfectionism isn't. Trying to make it perfect stops me in my tracks, it keeps me from writing anything at all. And, besides, beyond making the book the best I can make it, I have little control over how it will be received by readers, how well it will sell or what reviewers will say about it.
Perfection is a myth, at any rate. At best, it creates hesitation and misgiving. At worst, it destroys the story. So, as I sail again with Anton and Lenora, I'm going to remind myself I'm writing the okay-hey-it's-not-too-bad American novel. Maybe, that way, I'll be able to write 'the end' on my draft before too long.