Carrie Underwood's debut album "Some Hearts" has sold nearly 6 million copies and garnered the American Idol fourth-season champ numerous awards, so forgive her if she seems a bit nervous about her upcoming sophomore effort.

"'Is there really anywhere to go but down?' There was that fear in my head," Underwood told Billboard in a report published Monday. "Then we started picking songs and I realized it was more (about) making an album for myself that I love and I know I have a huge hand in making. Whatever happens, it's icing on the cake."

"Carnival Ride" is scheduled to be released by 19 Recordings/Arista Nashville on October 23 -- and much like original Idol winner Kelly Clarkson's third album "My December" -- Underwood had a hand in the songwriting process.  Except for a remake of Randy Travis' "I Told You So," Underwood told Billboard "Carnival Ride" consists of all original material, which she helped pen with several songwriters, including Hillary Lindsey, who she singled out as one of her favorite collaborators.

"It's very hard for me to find writers that really get kind of young female (artists). There are all these male writers and they are great at what they do," Underwood told Billboard. "But I'm a 24-year-old girl, and I imagine it would be hard for these guys to think like a 24-year-old girl. So it's really awesome that I've been able to get together with her."

Lindsey helped Underwood write "Wheel of the World," which the Idol 4 champ said contains her "favorite line of the whole album."

"[It] pretty much sums up everything that I've been through, and I think everybody could find something in this particular line: 'God put us here on this carnival ride/We close our eyes never knowing where it will take us next,'" Underwood told Billboard. "It's beautiful and so true. We don't know what we're doing or where we're headed. We just kind of trust and hope that whatever ride we're on in life takes us where we need to go."

While she's unsure of where she'll end up, Underwood apparently hasn't forgotten where she came from.

"Coming off American Idol, people already knew who I was," she told Billboard. "Most people spend years trying to (get fans to) recognize who they are. I already had that massive recognition factor."

The "recognition factor" has also helped Underwood attract the attention of a possible Mr. Right, most notably Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.

Underwood and Romo began dating in late December when he officially confirmed they were together after being seen hugging and laughing on the field at Texas Stadium on Christmas Day before the Cowboys' game against the Philadelphia Eagles.    However the couple apparently split soon after, as Romo told reporters during a pre-Super Bowl press conference, "She's a very nice, sweet girl, I care for her and whoever ends up with her will be a very lucky guy."

New reports that the pair were still romantically involved surfaced in both April and June, however according to Underwood, the entire romance was a tabloid fabrication.

"We're really good friends and support each other, but we're not together, nor have we ever been together," she told Billboard. "I understand because we went to the (Academy of Country Music Awards) together and I go watch him play football that people might get the wrong impression, but hardly any people ever ask me. They just kind of ran with the story anyway. I read stuff now that one of us is trying to get the other back and that I spend the night crying by myself. It's awful."
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Underwood understands media attention is part of the job, but admitted she isn't entirely comfortable with it yet.

"It's really awkward to think, 'Oh, gosh, somebody is going to snap a picture of me dancing and then they'll say I'm a party girl,' which I'm not," she told Billboard. "You have to think about everything you do, and if you decide to go ahead and do it anyway, realize that everybody is going to talk about it the next day. I'm 24 years old, and if I have a glass of wine in my hand and somebody takes a picture of it, somebody somewhere is going to get mad because I'm being 'a bad role model.' It's a fine line, and you have to realize that I'm a human too."

"So Small" -- the first single from "Carnival Ride" --  was released on July 31 and debuted at No. 20 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs' chart, making her the first female to debut in the Hot Country Songs' Top 20 in 43 years. "So Small" currently sits at No. 11, its peak position.