So what do you do when you get revisions in? I've seen a lot of different strategies, from different writers. Erica is a big fan of "being with" revisions for a while. You know, do nothing hasty. Let it percolate, see if it's wise. Overall, that's probably a good strategy. So very Buddhist of her.
Still other writers enjoy the defensive letter. As in, "I can see you didn't understand my book at all, you dope, so here are 100 reasons you're wrong, and you're probably from an inbred family to boot."
Then there's the hopeless types ... "I'll NEVER be able to do that. I should just quit. The whole thing sucks. I knew it all along."
And the personalized, hurt types. "You never supported me! I knew it! Why do you hate me so much! I should just save you the trouble and throw my whole manuscript off a bridge! You'd probably like that!"
Me? I'd like to think I was a "be with it" kind of guy. I mean, I am pretty open to revisions. I'm a fiend for improvement, and I'm not afraid to work hard. And since I'm already a professional writer, I stopped thinking that every word that drops from my fingertips is like dew from angel's wings a long time ago. In my world, words are a commodity like corn, and I'm the fertile field in which they grow (think on that for a second).
In reality, though, I'm more a neurotic type. "Should I? Shouldn't I? What the hell? And what does that mean anyway? I'm not going to do anything about it for a week. Except I'm going to rewrite the whole book tonight, when I can't sleep. Except that I'm not, because that would be rushing it and I want to get it right. And be honest now, does this manuscript make me look fat?"
So how do you sort out which comments are valuable and which are useless distractions? I can always tell if a proposed revision is good if this tiny voice inside my head says, "Yeeesssss." Or, better yet, if new scenes and implications start to flood my head. If I think, "Man! How come I didn't think of that before!" I know I'm in good territory.
But if I just smile and nod, and take no notes, think about nothing except ham sandwiches and dappled sunlight, then it ain't gonna happen.