Attitude is everything. With a positive attitude toward revision, you will listen to feedback with an open ear and not get so quickly offended when a reader tries to help. If you trust in your ability to make it better later, you may be more willing to lower your standards on the first draft and accept that the draft will be awful. That willingness will keep you from getting hung up and blocked, as often happens to writers. Fortunately, none of us have to type on something like this:
I revise every time I hit the delete key or insert a word or two to make a phrase more concise or complete for the reader. If I’m having trouble getting my head or my heart into a particular chapter, I slip a CD into my player to set the mood. Typing “The End” is only the end of the story. The real fun begins with revision, finding that perfect phrase or word to polish your work. If Hemingway can rewrite the ending of Farewell to Arms 39 times, who am I to feel annoyed when my critique group tells me something doesn’t work? I recently came across these words written by an author in 1964, and it still stands true today: “Put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.”
True to a certain extent, that is, because if I had to destroy most of what I’d written, I’d end up crying in my tea and would never get published. But you get the point—be willing to sacrifice what doesn’t work for the story. Save it for another time and place. But how do you know when you’re done? Is the end satisfying for you and your readers? That is something that is always on my mind as I wind down to the end. Those 39 rewrites of Hemingway’s were on the last page.