"Oh, I've edited my manuscript so many times, I forgot which draft I'm on!"
If I had a dollar for every time I've said this, I'd have enough to hire a book publicist. But is it really about how many drafts you're on? Is that a good measurement of when you should stop editing or proofreading your manuscript? Absolutely not.
When I first started out writing, I was so impatient when it came to editing my work. I didn't care about how I should improve my craft, I just wanted the editing done yesterday. Editing is, by far, the longest process of writing a book, but for me it was even longer. Was it to do with my impatience? Partly, but the real reason? I'll let you in on a secret. I'm terrible when it comes to English. In fact, I had to take remedial English class in college just so I could graduate!
To this day, I wish I had paid more attention in English class during my school years, but nothing can be done about that now. Sooo what did I do to improve? I read! I read as many books in the genre I was interested in and some even outside of that genre. I learned from other authors what writing style I liked best and from there I grew. Now, I'm not saying to forego English classes as they are extremely important to a writer's life, but there are other ways to learn.
With my latest book, I didn't even bother counting how many drafts I went through. To me, it was about the learning process. I even told my editor that I wanted her to highlight areas that needed to be fixed so that I could improve. Even after she went through it, and she did a good job, I re-read my book from a reader's point of view and found several weak areas within certain explanations.
In truth, the editing process is never-ending only because as writers we always want to strive for our best to give our readers the best experience possible.