6 Signs You’re Writing A First Draft

  1. You wake before your alarm, stretch, and just start typing. The words flow like melted caramel! Writing is easy and fun for you! You can’t believe the extent of your own genius. The euphoria lasts until the next morning when you re-read the trash-fire drivel you produced. You would delete it all–and you totally should–but then you’d be going backward in your word count.
  2. You drag yourself out of bed and force yourself to type one word after another. It’s terrible. Everything hurts. You’re the worst writer in the entire world and shouldn’t even bother with letters, words, and sentences. This heartbreak lasts until the next morning when you re-read the not-half-bad paragraphs you’ve produced! They’re coherent! How wonderful! You’re a novelist after all!
  3. Someone dares to say, “What’s your new book about?” You blink a few times, straighten your arms at your sides, and start nervous-laughing. “I don’t know!” you half-wail. “I”m not sure it’s even a book!” You shake your head and shrug and continue with jerky body movements and nonsense sentences until the person who asked you backs slowly away.
  4. Your snack interval decreases from a totally respectable snack every 30-60 minutes to a snack every 5-10. While surely it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, you convince yourself to have more Tostitos rather than a double-pour of Chardonnay at noon.
  5. You can’t remember what color your main character’s eyes are, or what car she drives, or the name of her best friend. Have you written down somewhere how old she is in relation to her sister? How did she meet her husband again? And wait, her job is in a field in which you have zero knowledge? Super! Let the googling begin.
  6. Sample Google searches: 
    1. Chic bedding
    2. Mid-century modern dining set
    3. Mamie Eisenhower pink range
    4. Required moves in synchronized skating
    5. Middle school soccer try-out drills
    6. Trendy animal-print shoes
    7. Same-sex couple adoption agency
    8. Stupid parenting advice about boys
    9. How to take a screenshot on SnapChat without someone knowing
    10. Synonym for humiliated
    11. Dick pics illegal?
    12. How to write the ending of a novel
    13. When you know your novel is utter garbage
    14. When you need to start your novel over again from scratch
    15. Cool perfumes for twenty-somethings

Phew. 

And, citrus and cedarwood, first draft friends. That’s what’s hip in fragrances for twenty-somethings. Take it from me and the first hit on Google.

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Kathleen West

Kathleen West is the author of the forthcoming novel, Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes, out 2/4/20 from Berkley. She lives in Minneapolis with her family.

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