The Ten Stages of Finishing Your Book

The Ten Stages of Finishing Your Book

For the past 756 days, I’ve been working on a novel. I wrote a first draft, and then I decided to completely rewrite it. This novel and I have been together through two birthdays and the first half of high school. We’ve survived physics together. We won Nanowrimo. It’s helped me make friends. I became a better writer by the end. But finally, I’ve finished.*

It’s hard to remember when “work on book” wasn’t on my to-do list. This was a much bigger change in my life than I thought it would be. I went through ten (possibly melodramatic) stages in the past week, which I’ve helpfully written down for you, complete with gifs so you can fully imagine my emotional rollercoaster.

*(OKAY, so I actually haven’t ~finished~ completely. I still have to do line edits, which involves checking all my punctuation, grammar, and focusing on making each sentence the best it can be. But I’m done with completely rewriting scenes, condensing characters, and changing the plot. This is more of a final check-through.) 


1. Denial




2. Relief


No more staying up until twelve to reach my word count. No more saying no to social events so I can finish editing. No more stressing over whether or not the dialogue is natural. It’s all done now!


3. Celebration


UM, I WROTE A BOOK?! I did it! Yay. I dedicated countless hours to making things from my imagination come alive for others. This mass of words, paper, and beauty came from me. And now it’s done! I’m going to call everyone I know and brag about it. Let’s eat a lot of cake and cookie dough ice-cream.


4. Sadness


WHAT DO YOU MEAN THIS IT’S OVER. I’ve spent so long with these characters, I’ve been a part of this world for so long. It can’t be done, just like that. What else am I going to obsess over when I should be paying attention in physics class? (When I say my book and I ‘survived physics together,’ I didn’t say we did well…)

5. Excitement


OMG MY BOOK IS GOING TO BE A BESTSELLER AND EVERYONE WILL LOVE IT. What shoes should I wear to my Ellen Show interview? I think I’ll wear a blue dress when I go to all the awards shows, don’t you think?

6. Self-doubt


Wait. What if not everyone likes the book? What if the characters are cliché, or the plot is boring? What if no one likes the book?

7. Fear


NO ONE CAN READ THIS BOOK. IT IS TRASH. I can’t write a book, what was I thinking? I must make sure no one reads this book OR ELSE.

8. Pride


Wait a second. I mean, it is pretty cool that I wrote a book. And some parts of it are pretty good. I mean, there’s that one scene I really like. I’m actually proud of what I’ve done.

9. Acceptance


My book is done. I have a distinct gut feeling that it is time for me to let go of this project. It’s not a perfect book, but I created it, and that’s pretty special. I’m at peace with my novel, and I appreciate all that it has given me, and I’m proud about what I’ve done.

10. Moving On

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Ah…you know the best thing to do after you’ve spent a grueling two years working on a book? Take a long hot bath? Go to yoga class? Act my age and go to a party and relax for once? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.


The correct answer was, “Start a new book.” That’s right! I’ve already written a chapter of my new novel. Be sure to check out next week’s blog post for a little but more information about that….


Have any of you finished a book? What project are you currently working on? How long have you been working on your book? Let me know in the comments! Until next time, you can find me on Pinterest or Instagram.






19 responses to “The Ten Stages of Finishing Your Book”

  1. Go you! I love all the gif’s. My WIP is a dystopian YA novel that I started last February, and I thought I was doing the final edit, but now I’ve decided to add all these other plot twists that mean I’ll probably never finish it. My goal is to be done by the end of the year though!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Jolly good show!

    I experienced the mild euphoria of finishing the first draft of a novel just about a month ago. If I’m a good and dedicated person, I may get the second sorted out before the next solstice.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Finished any book feels great, but finishing your first is AMAZING. I remember the feeling all too well, and the feelings that follow that you so excellenty write about.
    I’ve now got 4 books out there and a fifth with the publisher. I also have one self published book under a pseudonym, another waiting for the first rewrite, and one getting towards the end.
    The books published with the publisher are 3 fantasy novels and a recipe book, and the self-pubbed is a historical novel.
    Congratulations on your success. Are you going to self-publish or try for an agent and/or publisher?

    Liked by 1 person

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