With a Little Help From My Friends

There are a lot of steps in the writing process that get ignored when a deadline starts looming. However, there are some steps of the writing process that can prove especially helpful. For me, the most beneficial step is often peer review. Sure, it might take a little work to find someone to read over what you wrote and provide feedback, but the reward for doing so is great. Having another reader means that you’ll get a fresh set of eyes picking over not only the basic mechanics of your writing (e.g. finding typos and comma splices), but also someone to help you locate organization, transition, or idea issues.

After all, the point of writing is communication, and what better way to test its effectiveness than allowing it to go into the world and be read? While it’s always a good idea to read your own writing over before final submission with a set of fresh eyes, I find that I sometimes gloss over my errors because I know what it is that I’m trying to say. While some of you may be lucky enough to already have people in your life who enjoy reading your work and are willing to do the work to help you improve it, others may not have such an easy time. If your writing is for work, try asking a co-worker. If it’s for school, ask a classmate. You can sweeten the deal by offering to read your editor’s writing in exchange. Another great resource for university students is the writing center. Nearly every school has one, and the people who work there are usually selected for their skill at writing.

There are plenty of forms online that give you ideas of what to look for when peer reviewing. Before subjecting someone else to your work, however, make sure you’ve done a preliminary round of editing and revising yourself. You don’t want your reviewer hung up on correcting misspelled words and missing out on your overall message, or else the peer editing process won’t live up to its full potential.


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