I've got a note on my calendar that says I intend to have a full draft of my PhD thesis ready by the end of this month. I don't know if that will happen, because I don't know how I'll know when it's a full draft.
I know some people write a draft and it's very rough, and then they go back and edit it, and edit it again, and eventually it's a nice polished version. This is a good way to write, as it means you improve it several times until it's as good as it can be. When I write, I get bored very quickly and don't really fancy going over and over it. I know I have to edit and proofread, so I do, but I do it minimally. So my finished versions are usually not that much different from the first version. (Luckily, the first version is awesome. Ahem.)
With a thesis, you can't help but edit to a greater extent, I suppose, and some sections have been moved around and tweaked to show something different, but then there are whole chunks that I wrote in one go and haven't been back to since. All of these count as first draft material to me.
So how will I know when the cut-off point is, when I've got a full draft, but not a finished thesis? Do I have to have filled in all the gaps and written all the sections? Because once I've done that I'll be fairly close to finishing and it's not going to happen by the end of the month. Is it OK to have notes to myself in it, saying things like 'find out if this is true'? Because that means there's more research to be done, and it's not a full draft. Or is it OK to have the majority of it written, but a few bits still to fill in?
The other issue is that I'm not doing what a lot of people do, and writing one chapter at a time. I've got all my chapters partially written. I would like to have completed each in turn, but that's not the way it worked.
I feel like I want some kind of cut-off marker, a goal to aim at, other than 'finishing'. So I think the solution is to say that a 'full draft' means not having bits to fill in, having done all of the sections and only needing to edit the text that's already there. So I'm also going to move that deadline to a bit later on, I think.