1. No matter how hard you’ve tried to tame it, your story idea just won’t settle down.
2. You get frustrated when you start struggling. You still want to tell the story even when the words won’t come. (It happens to all of us.)
3. You’re excited to discover all the missing pieces of the narrative that haven’t revealed themselves to you yet.
4. You’re not totally confident, but you keep writing anyway — you’re not sure you could stand not to.
5. Even when you take a much-needed break from it, you feel excited and ready to return to your work.
6. Telling the story isn’t easy, but it feels like a challenge you can’t say “no” to.
7. You have some sort of connection to the subject matter or characters involved in the story.
8. You feel emotionally attached to your characters; they have become a part of you.
9. You hear them speaking to you in your head. Really. They’re communicating with you. They want their stories told and you’re the only one who can do it right.
10. It’s a feeling. You just … KNOW.
11. You start to get nervous when you know your story is reaching its end.
12. But you can’t help but imagine all the people it might reach someday, so you do your best to finish it anyway.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.