Recently in my English class we did a peer edit for our analysis essays. This was nothing new; we do a group edit for all our essays. But my group has six people so one of us always has to go to another table. This time, I volunteered. And it was a really good choice.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my group, but working with another group, even if just for a day, helped not only my writing but also my team skills in general.
Writing-wise, my group is used to my casual, speech-like tone. The group I was with this time wasn’t, and I could see how easy my writing was to understand for a foreigner. They asked questions and noted the parts they didn’t understand so I could edit what wasn’t comprehensible.
My writing is very stream of consciousness and I can see how it would be hard for someone other than me to really understand what I’m saying. Instead of having to go back and reread pretending to be an outsider, the group did that.
The new people also brought new perspectives and opinions. I wrote about makeup in my essay, which I’ll post later, and they were able to offer their opinions on not only my writing, but also the actual content. This inclusion of more ideas helps my writing be a little more accessible and relatable to a wider audience.
There was also a completely new dynamic with my new group, which helped me as a person become more receptive to change. I had to adapt to the new group and their ways of doing things, which translates into my writing. Being able to change things based on environment or need in one’s day to day life and writing again allows their writing to be more relatable. Not getting so attached to a single idea in an essay, which is a bunch of ideas under a single thesis, and being able to rip through your own work is an elusive skill.
Not many can conquer the desire to keep everything the same and just change some words, but this can ultimately be a writer’s downfall. As Darwin said, it’s not the strongest or the smartest who survive, it’s those most receptive to change. Why? Because you can place a strong person in adverse conditions, and they’ll try to force their way out. A smart person will try to figure out a way out. But someone receptive to change will be able to survive without escaping.
Anyway, back to group editing. Like I said, I love my group, but peer editing essay after essay with them can get repetitive. They give me good edits, but they’re often the same ones. I mean, I haven’t really changed my style, so these edits make sense. But different suggestions on top of these, as I have experienced first hand, help even more.