The 47 mental stages of writing a book (someone save me)

I am in the final stages of publishing Unshakeable: 20 Ways to Enjoy Teaching Every Day…No Matter What. Like, 98% done. The launch is about a month away. And I don’t have the brain cells right now to do much more than work on the book and talk about working on the book, so today’s post is going to be about the writing process.

If you have no desire to ever write a book, you might read this and think I’m crazy. I’m okay with that. Consider this a behind-the-scenes glimpse into something you will never have to put yourself through. If you are a writer, I think you’ll relate to the process below. (I hope so. Please say it’s not just me!)

This is my fourth book now, and though I find the writing/ publishing process less difficult and emotionally draining each time, I always find myself cycling through these same stages. 47 might seem excessive to you, but it actually feels more like 347. The stages overlap quite a bit and it’s definitely possible to cycle through a few of them multiple times before moving on. I’m actually going back and forth between #19 and #31 right now.

So without further ado…here’s your inside look at the mind of an author…you’ve been warned…

  1. I am writing a book. I’m WRITING A BOOK! And this book is the best idea ever. I am a genius. I am the smartest author who ever authored. This book is going to change the world.
  2. The blank page is invigorating. I can say anything!
  3. The blank page is intimidating. I can say anything.
  4. I have no idea how all of this is going to tie together. Is this even a book, or am I just rambling?
  5. Oh.That’show it ties together. THIS IS GOING TO BE A REAL BOOK!
  6. Writing is hard. And tedious. And a super long process. I wish I was on the editing process. So much easier than writing.
  7. Argghhh, I hate the editing process. Give me a blank page so I can pour my heart out; this whole reworking and looking for the right word and fixing verb tense inconsistencies is going to kill me.
  8. Where was I going with this idea? What the heck was my point here? Was this supposed to be included? Does this belong, in any way? What was I even thinking when I wrote this?
  9. This is the worst book ever. I was an idiot to think this could ever be published. It’s garbage. It’s unoriginal, incoherent, irrelevant, and just plain stupid. The whole thing was a waste of time.
  10. Ok, so there are actually some good parts here. And here. I’ll keep trying.
  11. Gah, this is hard. I will never finish this book. It’s just not going to come together. Ever. I’m going to keep going over and over it and it’s never going to be good enough to share with the world.
  12. This book is actually closer to being finished than I thought. Funny how when I looked yesterday, it seemed super disjointed and I thought I had hours left to go for each chapter, but this chapter here is basically done, and so is this one, and this one.
  13. Wait, did I just write a book? I think this book is basically done. I have a book. Almost. I’M GOING TO HAVE A BOOK.
  14. Time for editing! Whew. I get to take a break for awhile. Someone else is going to fix everything!
  15. Okay, now I need to fix the things the editor fixed. Another read through and more edits to come.
  16. This is looking good! Exciting! I’m about to have a boooookkk!
  17. Just a few more details to attend to. Just the cover design and the back cover copy and the dedication page and the index and the page numbering and the author page and…oh mannn, I am never going to finish this book. It’s never going to be done. There is always going to be something else to do. I will be 100 years old and still trying to finish this.
  18. I hate this book. I hate it with the burning fire of a thousand suns.
  19. I’m not just sick of this book, I’m sick of myself. I don’t want to read anything else I’ve written ever again. Get this book away from me, and take the stupid blog with it. No. More. Writing.
  20. Come on, almost there. You can do it, just a little more now.
  21. This is it. This is as good as it’s going to get. Deep breaths. Ready to release it to the world.
  22. Wait, let me read itooooonemore time.
  23. Look how much better those 75 minor changes just made the book! Yes, much better!
  24. Oh crap, if I made 75 minor changes in one “final” read through, how many more changes will I want to make if I read it again?
  25. I don’t want to read it again!
  26. I’m reading it again.Ugggggghhhhh.
  27. See how much better it is after those 25 minor changes! Yes! This book is great!
  28. Oh crap, if I made 25 minor changes inthat “final” read through, how many more changes will I want to make if I read it again?
  29.  I don’t want to read it again!
  30. I’m reading it again.Ugggggghhhhh.
  31. Okay, only 5 minor changes this time. Stop being so picky. It’s fine. You’re going to rework this thing to death and it’s not necessary. There’s always something that could be changed or added. Everything is perfectly fine. Leave it alone.
  32. I can’t help myself, one more freaking read through…
  33. Only 3 minor changes that time. It’s done. It has to be done.
  34. Now let me read it one more time and make SURE I can let this thing go out into the world without humiliating myself.
  35. Okay, just this one little change. It’s done. It’s done. It has to be done. Unless I decide to…no. Never mind. It’s done.
  36. IT’S DONE. The proof copy is being generated. I can finally relax.
  37. How am I supposed to relax when I’m waiting for the proof copy? Must…see…book…nowwwwwwww…
  39. OMG people are going to be able to buy it soon. Oh, no, what have I done? They’re going to read it! They’re going to have opinions about it! Some of those opinions might not be good! I don’t know if I can handle someone criticizing my baby!
  40. I can’t worry about that now. I gave it my all, I’m satisfied, and what’s done is done.
  41. Now I have to do more work for the book launch and publicizing. I am so tired of thinking about this book but I have to be super enthusiastic about it. HEY, EVERYBODY, LOOK AT MY AMAZING BOOK! (Please tell me it is actually amazing.)
  42. The first comments and book reviews are coming in. They like it, they really like it! I am not the only person who can make sense of this book–they understand it! They are buying it, reading it, and they’re loving it!
  43. This book IS changing people’s lives–they’re telling me so. All that work was so, so worth it. What an indescribable feeling, to have those ideas out in the world and know they are helping other teachers and kids.
  44. You know what would probably help teachers even more? A book about ___. I mean, thatwould be a good idea for book.
  45. Pssshawww, I’m not writing another book. No way. It’s just too exhausting and time-consuming. Not happening.
  46. Seriously, I am going to ignore this idea for a book.
  47. Okay, that’s it, I am totally going to write this book. I just can’tnotwrite it. I AM WRITING A BOOK! And it’s going to be the best book ever!



  1. Jennifer Gonzalez

    Dude. I know, right?

    • Angela Watson

      Hah, Jennifer, I knew you would totally relate to this! 😉 Thanks for commenting.

  2. Persida

    Oh, my! This is spooky. It’s like my thoughts are being recorded:)

    • Angela Watson

      It’s hard to imagine you two doubting your work, especially considering how awesome the end product was! I appreciate you commenting.

  3. Adrianne Meldrum

    This is me right now…my head hurts as I am stuck in mental phase 41. And it’s been bumpy…it’s going to be worth it…right?

    Thanks Angela!

    • Angela Watson

      It’s not going to be easy, it’s going to be worth it. 😉 I just had a friend remind me of that the other day. A book is something that people will look back and reference for years to come.

      #41 is a tough spot but you’ll be on #47 in no time! Hah!

  4. Chrisna

    I look forward to read your book! Can we pre-order?

    • Angela Watson

      Thanks, Chrisna! Nope, no pre-orders yet. I anticipate it will be available by the end of March. The best thing to do is sign up for an email notification: you’ll get 3 free videos related to the book, as well. 🙂

Post a Comment

Want to join the discussion? Feel free to contribute!