1. It’s a story you have wanted to tell for a long time, and are finally sitting down to write.
2. You don’t dread working on it — you’re actually excited to see the finished product.
3. You know how it ends. You might not know every detail about how your characters get to the end, but you have a good idea of how you and your future readers will be feeling when you reach it.
4. You’re aware of the mistakes you’re making along the way, but you take note of them and keep writing anyway. You’re determined to finish the story, no matter what it takes.
5. You can picture the events happening in front of your eyes like a movie. They feel real.
6. You feel connected to your characters — almost as if they’re real people.
7. Even when you’re not actively writing, you’re thinking about where you want to go next with your story, and how you can make it the best it can be.
8. You understand your story well enough to explain it not just to family and friends, but to agents, editors, and publishers — if the opportunity presents itself, of course.
9. Even on the days writing is hard, telling the story word by word still feels freeing.
10. It’s the story you have always wanted to read but could never find in a bookstore.
11. You’ve already left pieces of yourself behind in its pages.
12. You’re in love — in a way you didn’t know was possible to be in love. Your characters might not be real, the events might not be real. But what you feel when you think of and spend time with this story — it is fully real. And you couldn’t imagine ever walking away.
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.