This summer I taught a revision workshop at The Pacific Northwest Children's Book Conference. I covered all the nuts and bolts stuff, but I began the workshop by asking each participant to consider her spine.
Not her backbone (except maybe metaphorically), her spine -- the thing which centers her as a writer. That which holds her up. Her "Big Why" for doing what she does.
See, conferences -- even nurturing conferences like this one -- can bring out the competitor in us. We can hear about this person's new agent or that person's three book deal or someone else's brilliant premise for a chapter book series and we can lose sight of who we are, what we want, what really motivates us to write the books that only we can write.
And so I asked people to consider that question -- what is your Big Why? What is it you really intend as a writer?
That's the place to start in revision.
And it is the place to return to over and over and over again, when you find yourself lost in market news or at conferences or even in your own manuscript.
What do you intend for yourself as a writer?
Now that you've read that, you can read a couple of excellent follow-up posts here and here, (the latter being a chat with Sara Lewis Holmes, author of OPERATION YES.