Challenge Blog: Peer Review

Peer editing is a great thing. But also a weird thing, at least at this stage in my writing process. The people in this class and this program are brilliant, creative minds. I always want their feedback- until I don’t. I have just turned in a small writing sample. I have written a total of one page for my project and am just not mentally prepared to have it ripped apart yet. My confidence in this piece is so low that I would not be able to defend it. I am also so unfamiliar with it that I do not think I could explain it. I did not make any active decisions yet. I do not know the narrative purpose of what I wrote, even the ending of the story.  I would not be able to answer their questions or explain anything.

I also am still sensitive with my writing at this stage. It is a brand new baby, just beginning to grow and develop. I don’t want to be bombarded with questions and insults (or “suggestions”)  about it. I need positive encouragement because I am still thinking about where it is going. It is not quite ready to enter the real world. I believe that peer review is such a special thing that I would never want to engage in it unauthentically. I could never ask my classmates to hold back in their comments and suggestions, doing so would make the special process superficial. The truth is I just need a little more time with my thoughts and my writing before I am ready to take the heat.  

5 thoughts to “Challenge Blog: Peer Review”

  1. Hi, Lainey. I wonder what it is about this process of Capstone project creation and submission for peer-review that’s become so daunting for you. Do you know, yourself?

    I know that I was quite fearful to submit anything for review because I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to reach some way-too-high standard of quality. Something that helped me get over that hump was envisioning any segment I put up for review as merely a jumping-off point. I told myself that the quality of my sample submission was not indicative of my worth as a person/student/writer/whatever, and that any suggestions (which I admit can feel like insults in the wrong mindset/context) did not necessarily need to be incorporated or even acknowledged.

    I guess my question to you would be the following: Is there a way you can insert some cognitive distance between your self-worth/confidence and your writing? It may be the case that you do it my way and fake it ’til you make it, or there may be some other method for you to accomplish this task. Hopefully I’ve been at least moderately helpful!

  2. Lainey! Hey.

    First of all, I laughed pretty hard when you wrote insults followed by “or ‘suggestions'”. I feel that. Sometimes it just feels like an attack. Second, I completely empathize with you. It’s really scary to write something and feel unsure about it and then have to share it with a bunch of people who are specifically there to judge your work – even if that judgment is for a good purpose. I know I personally can feel both very defensive of my work while simultaneously being like my work is trash and these people know way more than I do and I will never amount to anything (or something along those lines). As an aside, your piece was great and you have nothing to be worried about!!

    Time is also allowed. I know that we had workshop deadlines but things are relatively fluid with the exception of the actual project due date, so it’s okay to work with what you had at the time and then change things and rewrite or rework or relook at things differently. Forcing something out may not even bring you the piece you wanted.

    Do you feel a little more confident now after some time? Have you written more? Do you feel at all better??? r u ok??

    Good luck with your project!

  3. Dear Lainey,

    Hello! I feel this on many levels, especially because I am up for workshop tomorrow and my project still feels pretty rough around the edges in places. However, I feel as though I put a good amount of my heart & soul into my site, and I’m scared that people will hate my heart & soul!! LOL!

    I value peer review a lot, but hearing your classmates’ suggestions without receiving enough positive feedback as cushioning can make me feel like a failure, haha. So you’re 100% not alone in this!

    However, I guess something that is nice is the knowledge that my work is rough. It’s a draft! That means it’s not a finished product, and it also means that I can take people’s criticisms less seriously because I know there’s still work to be done. For example, I know there are several unfinished pieces on my site (such as a selection of links) that people have already been commenting on, but it feels as though I don’t need to take this criticism completely to heart because this task is already on my list of to-dos.

    Ultimately, I do think it’s important to create work that you’re proud of and to have confidence in it, while also maintaining an open mind. No one else’s comments will make your art less “yours,” and that’s something I’ve been constantly reminding myself as I head into the workshop process.

    I don’t know if any of this was even remotely helpful, just wanted to say you rock & you are not alone! (:


  4. Hi Lainey!

    One of the things that stood out to me is how relatable this post is. Especially in the early stages of writing, it is so easy to fear what people will say about it. Through my 325 and 425 English classes, something that has stuck with me is that people will give the best feedback if they care. Although it is easy to want the nice comments, (and yes, they make you feel good), the critical ones are what help the most. In the beginning stages, though painful, can help shape you into the right direction!

    With this all being said, any time we put something out there, it feels as though a part of you are being judged. It’s so important to remember that people are looking at what words you put on the paper, not who you are.

    And we are all on the same page… never feeling like we’re ready or that there’s enough time. Good luck!!

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