I've long been a fan of printing out my manuscripts to revise them. There's something about seeing the words on paper with my notes scrawled all over and things crossed out and moved and whatever else I do to the poor document that just makes the progress feel real. I think this is the same reason Word's track changes feature appeals to me*.
Lots of people revise well on their computer. There are even programs like Scrivener designed to make the process easier. But I don't revise well that way. I don't draft well on the computer, either, for that matter, which is why I own about a million and two notebooks. My computer is very distracting. It has so many games on it. And, worse: the internet. Since you're reading this blog post right now, I don't think further explanation is necessary on all the ways that the internet is distracting.
But if I move away from the computer, my concentration skills increase exponentially. I can curl up on the couch or in my bed or in a chair with my printed out document and cackle maniacally as I cross out and rewrite entire paragraphs and scenes--because, feeling slightly guilty for my tree slaughter, I try to only do one revision on a printed out version, so I usually pick an early stage of revision when I'm making lots of changes--and not be distracted by shiny things like email or Facebook or news stories. Plus somehow, seeing the manuscript in a different medium makes typos and awkwardly written chunks jump out to me more. And when I got a Kindle, I discovered that I could revise away from my computer on a screen that doesn't hurt my eyes and I could do it without printing out all those pages and whispering, "I'm sorry!" to the tree outside my window. It's not really made for revising, but it has a notes feature, and between that and the use of the aforementioned million and two notebooks**, I can revise in that same distraction-free way as when I printed it out. And am less likely to accidentally drop the whole pile of pages and have to try and figure out what order they are supposed to be in.
So in this way, I've grown into a revision style that works for me. One that makes revising enjoyable and that helps me be more successful at it, even if someone else trying to decipher my notes to myself might feel like they were reading an alien language. What about the rest of you? Where do you revise, and how do you keep the distractions at bay?
*I have a love/hate relationship with track changes, because sometimes it's mean to me.
**I know, I know. The trees just can't escape me.