The nine stages of editing your book

When most people finish their first draft they have no idea of the mind-numbing and heroic journey they are about to embark on. Finishing the first draft is only the beginning… as editing may be one of the hardest f—— things you’ll ever do.

Here are the nine stages of editing your novel (with cats of course!)

1) Your first draft is done! Your vampire romance novel fairly flew from your fingertips and all you’ve got left to do is a bit of proofreading. Fantastic, you’ll have this done by lunchtime

cat glasses


3) Two hours later and everything goes to shit. This stage may include fainting, passing out or unconscious daydreaming. You want to bail, and right now



3) You’ve done a bit of research after your near meltdown, only to uncover that there are a MILLION F—— WRITING RULES ON THIS PLANET



4) And just when you think you’re finally done, someone tells you that you need beta readers. But what the hell are they? And where on earth do I find these magical creatures? And you desperately need them too because they are the only people who’ll be able to spot that character who magically came back to life in the third act

canteven cat


5) And now different versions are pouring in from your three different beta readers and the copy you gave to you mum and you can’t handle it and you realise you’ve been working on an old version for the last two weeks and you don’t know what to do and you stare at the current version and wonder how the hell you are going to mash it back together with the old one and you’re thinking why the f– didn’t you buy scrivener when it was on sale



6) To make the writer’s life even more wonderful, you learn that there is such a thing as editor’s block. And it means you’ll do anything, absolutely anything besides editing your novel



7) After a year or so you hand your novel over to a professional editor. For weeks you sit alone in the dark and wonder what they are doing, what they are thinking, if refinancing your mortgage was worth it and how many adverbs they found

embarrassed cat


8) And then you get your manuscript back from the editor. Only, you can’t see your manuscript anymore. There are all these corrections and additions and explanations ABSOLUTELY EVERYWHERE, including one that points out a single plot error that makes your entire story pointless



9) After making revisions based on your editor’s suggestions, you hold your manuscript close to your heart and begin to snot-cry like Viola Davis in Fences and you’re wailing and sobbing and you’re just so god damn HAPPY. All the blood, sweat and deleted adverbs were not in vain. You may even begin to hear some music in the background as you reminisce over the hero’s journey you’ve just completed

waiting cat


Good luck everyone and I hope you have a smoother time editing than me! I’m currently at stage 6 and it’s a tough one to get over. If you need a bit of a push like me, here’s some editing resources to get you started:


The Write Life

10 Simple Ways to Edit Your Own Book:


Writer’s Digest

How to Edit Your Book in 4 Steps:


Adian Editing

Editing Stages of a Book:


The Creative Penn

A great list of editing services:


The Expert Editor

My choice for professional editing:


Gifs sourced from:,,,








51 thoughts

  1. Hi, and thank you. My blog is about writing now. I deleted the older blogs. And I know how difficult it can be to get something published. I’m working on new projects too. So, come back and read more and I’ll read more of your blogs too.Take care now.


  2. Okay, I’ve barely even started reading yet, but I had to stop and come comment. I am not a cat person. But your pics are filarious. I’m dying here! (On my blog too, but that’s a whole other story.) I had to pause so my stomach wouldn’t cramp up. You? Funny!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love the cat vids! Hate the thought of what feels like endless editing. I finally finished the 1st draft back in January and am now starting to revise the known problem areas and POV issues and feel like the cat submerging its head under water. Hmm… makes me wonder if my cat will be doing that soon since I drive him crazy talking to him as if he is a human and understands me. His expressions on my editorial questions are priceless however.


  4. Pretty funny and accurate! Lol. I think my authors probably feel that way, especially when they see their work return with the edits. Your clip with the cat flying off the ledge to his??? was a bit unnerving. I might have nightmares over that one. I hope it was all made up. Fun post, though. Thanks. And thanks for the follow. Cheers, Lynne (V. L. Murray)


      1. Actually, from the perspective of someone who edits first-time writers, there were some real gems of advice in there. I posted a link on on my facebook page, it got a great response, including a like from a published author and writing teacher.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Loved this! You nailed the dreaded book editing stages…and made them entertaining in the process.

    I’ll be sharing this at in this Friday’s Curated Content post on 3/24. I might hate editing, but I lvoe cats 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha thank you!! I’m in the same boat – love cats but can’t stand editing (as you can probably tell…) thanks for sharing on your website this coming Friday. I’ll keep an eye out for it! Just saw the one you guys did last week, soooo many interesting articles!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Well that’s an average day/week/month/year in my writing- life (apart from the editor bit; it’s my one smidge of ego).
    Small wonder my stats read ; 4 books published – total copies sold = 1 (exit cackling)


  7. #8 “including one that points out a single plot error that makes your entire story pointless”

    So true! haha. Thanks for sharing the resources at the bottom as well!


  8. Loved this! Made me laugh out loud. Thank you for sharing this highly amusing post and for the useful links. Mine’s a non-fiction book. Need to get on with the copy editor’s suggested changes and progress to the next stage of my self-publishing journey.
    Popped over to thank you for following me. Appreciated.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I love the cats! I’d say I’m on stage 6 too, but I’m still pre beta reading. No beta reading until I’m happy… which might take a very long time.

    We can do this!!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Good luck on your editing endeavours! That’s currently me right now, except it’s literally just me and I feel like this story could crumble to pieces if I don’t get it right. And the fact that this is a series doesn’t make it more comforting. I FINALLY found peace with book one a couple weeks ago and now my head’s throbbing from book 2 (I wrote this one during NaNoWriMo so it’s rough as fuck).

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great post. At one point in the editing process, I felt I could sing the thing in three languages having read it soooo many times, backwards, forwards, and sideways. Love the cats!


  12. I laughed. This is just so, so true.
    Getting a professional editor sounds both terrifying and lovely, at the same time. I have to save up my pennies to go that route next time.


  13. Good luck with your editing! 🙂
    I’m just in the first draft stages of my current writing project right now but I love your post (the cat gifs are hilarious and so true!). I’m excited and terrified at the same time to eventually reach the editing part of writing my story.


  14. My god, this is so true, I have been working on editing my novel for over a year now and just when I think its ready I find another glaring flaw.
    I did it a bit out of order I sent the first draft to a professional editor and got back a report on it that honestly had me terrified to read, I eventually did, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought.
    At the last count I had 37 versions of my book on my memory stick alone, not counting what’s on the onedrive, googledrive, and on my laptop its self plus 2 or 3 other memory sticks.
    Hope you get passed stage 6 and get it sent off soon. I’m planning on sending mine to publishers and agents in the next couple of weeks.
    good luck.

    p.s. love the cats


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