I have a nifty story
I wrote it yesterday
The problem now, I can't see how
To rework it today--
Oh, I've got the revision blues (it happens every time)
Oh yes, the revision blues (it really is a crime)
I've got the revision blues
And I think I need some downtime.
Yes, I admit to owning (and abusing) a rhyming dictionary. I promise, no further verses of doggerel for at least another week.
They--the all-knowing they who proclaim great truths from on high--they say that if you manage to actually finish that first draft of a novel, then you've taken a significant, and, indeed, entirely necessary and critical step towards publication.
They, in this case, are correct. However, what "they" have failed to take into account is that I don't seem to have a problem with the first draft part. I have no fewer than four separate manuscripts of YA novels in various stages of draft-dom. Where I have my issues is in revision.
Namely, when I sit down to revise, I often feel like I have no idea what I'm doing--that fancy three-letter graduate degree just sits there on my filing cabinet like an inanimate and unhelpful sheet of meaningless paper. Sometimes I revise--and revise, and revise again--only to feel completely uncertain if I've even made my work any better. In fact, sometimes I'm terrified that I've actually made it worse, and that I won't be able to tell the difference. How do other writers cope with this? How can you tell when you should keep plugging away at a story, or if it's time to put it aside, either temporarily or permanently?
I'm sure there's no way to just magically know. (Though if there is, and you're all keeping it from me...why I oughta....) But if you have any revision hints, or great links you've run across, strategies that work for you, I'd love to hear them!