Revisions, for a writer at any stage of his/her writing career, can be a daunting task. After all, we wrote the words we wrote for a reason. As writers, it's difficult to step outside ourselves and take a step back, to objectively look at what works and doesn't, and to find a way to make it work.
Yet if you or I want to be successful, we have to do just that. In fact, the longer we've been writing, the more difficult it can be to revise effectively.
We learn more about writing craft, and suddenly, everything on the page is garbage.
"I'm an utter failure. How can I have written that and thought anyone else would want to read it? Better to just toss it in the garbage and start over. Better yet, instead of starting over, maybe I should just throw it in the trash and follow it up with everything else I've ever written. I'm a fraud. I'll never get the hang of this. What a load of..."
Wait. Stop right there. If you get to that stage, you've almost broken through with this particular manuscript you're working on. Or at least that's been my experience. When I'm ready to give up completely, then I'm finally making headway.
I've been in that stage recently. So...I set the manuscript aside for a bit, and then came back to work on it again with a fresh perspective. It wasn't as bad as I thought it was. There were even moments of brilliance, where I've impressed myself with what ended up on the page.
Even with that, though, there is always still a lot to slog through, a lot that needs improvement before it is ready to put out in front of the world.
When you get to this point, how do you keep yourself working? Do you reward yourself? Do you grant yourself a bit of freedom for each chapter/block of words you get through? What other recommendations do you have to keep yourself working to improve something when you can no longer stand looking at your own writing?