The Meaning of Revision

Back in school and even up until recently, I thought that "revising" meant moving a few sentences around, correcting a misspelled word, maybe swapping out a generic adjective for something more specific.

I could not have been more wrong.

Every time I've tried to revise Mina by the definition above, I've ended up writing so much new material that the two stories can hardly even be called drafts of the same work. And now I'm working on Draft #3, which is almost unrecognizable! I don't know if this is how other writers work because at present, I don't know any other writers. But I don't know how to do things any differently, even though I've spent a year of my life writing things that will never get published (because I won't let them). How can I not feel like I've wasted my time when there's no tangible result?

The only consolation I have is that I have learned so much. I've learned about the publishing industry, about writing and storytelling, about being an author, and about the landscape of YA literature. That isn't knowledge that I'm likely to forget, so if I think about it like it's the bottom layer of a pyramid that I'm slowly climbing, then the first novel - even if it DOES end up in a drawer - doesn't seem like such a waste of time.