Editing

My Problem With Peer And Self Review

Let me start by saying I love one and hate the other. Care to hazard a guess?

In high school, I hated peer review sessions. Who doesn’t jump with joy at exchanging work with classmates and giving feedback for improvement?

I didn’t get a lot of helpful or useful comments from others. People tossed my essay back and told me it was perfect. I fumed inside because I knew my first draft was not even close to perfection. Imagine a world where first drafts were great.

I almost always came out of peer review workshops feeling a bit frustrated. OK, a lot.

Even though I tried my best to give constructive criticism, some people didn’t reciprocate. I don’t blame them. More than any other institution, I feel like in high school people are at a completely different level on their journey. Don’t get me started with teenage maturity.

To be fair, editing is hard. Giving feedback isn’t a walk in the park. But I guess what bothered me the most was the people who didn’t take it seriously. I can picture fourteen year old me making comments and suggestions while everyone else around me talked about whatever high schoolers talk about. I grew up fast.

Obviously, the more I edit other people’s work, the better I am at reviewing my own work. That said, I can’t look at my writing the same way someone else can. Still, I should charge a premium anytime someone asks me for feedback.

I’ve never given much thought as to what I think about when editing my own work.

I care about consistency and clarity whenever I’m critiquing. I also love brevity as much as the best blog reader. Wordiness will likely be the death of me.

Ever since I’ve learned about parallel structure, I’m careful around lists. This ties in with consistency to an extent. If you have two verbs in your list, I don’t want to see a noun phrase at the end of it. That’s guaranteed to drive me crazy.

Shout out to all the writers who have amazing flow. I aspire to write like you. Because I never outline, my first drafts are a hot mess.

Surprise, I’m such a stickler for grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Sometimes the small details make the biggest difference. But I like rule breakers within reason. I’m one myself. Tough to get around not doing things by the book in academia though.