Existential Writing Questions

These are the questions that keep me up at night:

Does a draft count as a draft if only three characters, two paragraphs, and one idea survive?

If the above happens twice, should that count as two first drafts or two rewrites?

So then is this thing that I’m working on now a fourth draft or is this the second draft of the third version?

And should I refer to those first two versions as drafts -1 and 0? (I think I should. Just so I can say things like, “In the negative first draft, that character was originally called Lauren. But in draft zero, her name became Danielle.”)

When calculating the time it took me to write this book, should I subtract out the month when I did nothing but stare at the ceiling fan? Or the periods of time when I was working on FRACTURE edits? Or the number of hours I spent trying to calculate how long this was actually taking me?

And what is my obsession with assigning everything a number, anyway?

Does my critique partner think it’s weird when I email her about what I ate for lunch? (I guess this is not so much an existential question as it is a rhetorical question.)

Does my other critique partner think I’ve crossed the line when I invite her over to talk shop but then ask her to kill a giant spider instead? (also rhetorical) (ALSO she was a spider-stomping hero)

I ask these things because I’m about to finish this draft, or manuscript, or whatever it’s called when it’s still a document on the computer and only your critique partners have seen it but you’re pretty sure it’s done.

Except for that small list you’re keeping in your notebook of things you need to fix.

Wait, so what would this next step be called? The second pass of the second draft of the third version?

Yeah. That. I’m about to do that.