On Friday I finished the first draft of my sequel to Screwing Up Time. (Confetti and cheers.) Though, of course, after I wrote the final word, I thought, “Oh, dear, maybe it’s not really done. Maybe my readers will be disappointed. Or, maybe I’ve written too much and over-gilded the lily.
I figured that other writers must have the same problem. And while I can’t read your manuscript and tell you if it’s done, I think there are outside factors that may strongly indicate when a first draft is complete. So I’ve come up with a checklist.
“How to Know When Your First Draft is Complete.”
1. Your beautiful flower garden is now being considered for a filming of Tarzan.
2. Your pile of ironing has collected dust.
3. You look in the mirror and discover your eyebrows resemble hedgerows—and the eighties look is not in. (Why can’t that come back?)
4. You’ve emailed your latest WIP (work-in-progress) to yourself, at least two hundred times—after all, you never know when your computer will die. (BTW, in the old days, writers used to store hard copies in the freezer.)
5. The printed letters on your computer keyboard have worn off. My space bar is actually “grooved.”
6. When your children need you, they IM you.
7. You are adept at writing while cooking, which explains the spaghetti sauce smears across the laptop screen.
8. Your dog throws her water bowl into your lap.
9. Your refrigerator has Tupperware cartons of leftovers that are unrecognizable and move under their own power.
10. Your husband bites your neck and complains that he’s a book widower.