Revision is the best part of writing. I can't wait until I've gotten a complete draft of a story out of my head and onto the page/screen. Once that's happened (the hard part), I can really begin to get to work and start revising (the fun part). Here are some tips for unlocking the joy that is revision.
Understand that a first draft is just that. I have never expected a first draft of a story to be my final draft, so discovering that my first draft is not a masterpiece doesn't send me running for a pint of Ben & Jerry's or make me play sad love songs and hide my head under the covers. It's called a first draft for a reason, because it is expected that it will be followed by a second. And a third. And so on.
Do not be afraid to make a mess. Plan on it. I don't care if the first version of the story is unruly, unwieldy and just plain hard to make heads or tails of. In a first draft, I don't care if words are spelled correctly, or paragraphs are indented. I don't care if the beginning is in the middle and the middle is at the end.
Don't force yourself to revise and write at the same time (unless you want to). If I am in the groove and writing full steam ahead and I get stumped because I can't find exactly the right metaphor or image and all I can come up with is some flabby and inferior word, phrase or description, I'll swallow my pride and go ahead and use that cliché or that awful adverb just to make it to the end of the story (I will, of course, bracket or bold it, so I can find it later). Rather than lose the momentum, I'll insert some place-holder writing in the first version, with the knowledge that perfecting the language can come later.
Don't mistake revising for editing. Editing is often small, tiny, and eradicating. Revision can be large, grandiose, and sweeping. When I revise, I allow myself to go as far as I wish. I have revised a story before and split it in half and turned it into two different and separate stories. There are pieces that I have revised where nothing was allowed to remain save for the title. I have excised characters, added new ones, changed the POV from first person to third, from third person to second, etc., or changed from a man's POV to a woman's.
Revision is the kick in the pants that propels the writer out of complacence, jars him from the euphoria that tends to come when he thinks he's completed something. Revision is the inevitable and necessary faceoff between one's lazy writer self who defends the good enough draft, "This sentence/passage/description/scene/character is fine the way it is" and one's higher writing self who argues, "Yes, it's good enough and it says what I want, but does it say it in the right way? Does it say it in the best way?"
Revising encourages and liberates the writer to "make mistakes." It rewards mistakes; each "mistake" teaches one something about the story one is writing and gets one that much closer to the story one is meant to write. Revision reconciles the competing versions of the story that the writer carries in his head. Until the writer has gotten the story down on paper or onto the screen, he often cannot tell the difference between what he actually wrote, what he thought he wrote, and what he hoped to write. He thinks it's all there—his intentions finely wrought and rendered—yet when he revisits his draft, he sees that an essential detail or necessary piece of information is missing. He finds that much of what he intended never actually made it onto paper (or onto the screen) and exists only in his head.
The word revise comes from the Latin prefix and verb: re + video. The verb video (video, videre, vidi, visum) gives us such English derivatives as envision, revise, improvise, visionary, provide, and supervise, etc. Devoid of any prefixes, the infinitive form videre means to see, to perceive, to note, to look at, to observe, to understand. It is an act of seeing that is not merely physical. Looking is not enough; videre implies an act of comprehension; it suggests an understanding of that which one has just seen. Add the prefix re, which means again, back, anew, and it is clear that the act of revising is not an act of editing, but an act of rethinking, an act of questioning. Revising is observing anew, understanding again, going back to see. Revision helps the writer look again at what he has created with a brand new set of eyes. And that's what makes it fun.