Since I am in the middle of a total rewrite of my first novel, I thought I'd let you know about a few things that I have found handy.
# 1 Don't be afraid to hit that delete key. Cutting things out is part of revision. Trust me, you'll be glad you did. I am going to end up cutting huge sections out of this novel because of a POV switch and some plot changes. And that's okay with me. I've heard people say that they keep their first novel in a drawer where nobody will ever see it. But I think that writers are a lot like architects. It doesn't really matter that there is a problem with a design because the building hasn't actually been built yet. You can still make changes, even drastic ones and everything will turn out okay. If those changes don't work, you can make different changes. Writers are problem solvers. You can and will figure it out.
#2 If you are afraid to hit the delete key in some places, either because the writing was simply amazing or you think you will use it again somewhere else in the manuscript, create an additional file with the title of your book followed by "cut and paste." Move text over there that you don't want to delete permanently. That way, it will be easy to find again if you think you will need it. This is something I have recently discovered and it has been a life saver. I love organization.
What have you found helpful in revisions?
(And I'm happy to say that I actually spelled permanently correctly. Like, before the spell check and everything. Progress.)