After deciding to be the first person to ever volunteer for peer workshops in this gateway class, I was simply nervous. In previous classes, I had done smaller peer workshops of two or three people, but even then, I was nervous about people reading my writing and critiquing it. Then came this writing 220 class and peer workshops seemed even more intimidating as we would be sharing strengths and possible revisions with and in front of the entire class. There was a sense of writing vulnerability about to be exposed to my cohort. As I sat quietly while listening to another student read aloud my work and listening to the whole class discuss the strengths and advice for the next draft, my nervousness went away. Jotting notes throughout the workshops, my peers not only gave constructive, helpful criticism, but I was able to ask them questions for more clarity on talked about points with ease. Expressing my concerns and thoughts for further revision, I felt more confident going forward with a stronger piece of writing. I had a lot to work off of while get validation of the strength of various wording, tone, structure, etc.
Going the first workshop day allowed me to see what was expected not only during the workshop, but during the processes of writing letters to the author as well. Similar to some of the readings about worshiping before starting the process, I found the workshops to help me become a better writer. Being able to detect the aspects that are working within a given writing, to see areas of improvement for structure or argument, and to see how us as the audience reflect in the writing. I feel like there was a sense of satisfaction of being able to critique another’s paper and giving helpful feedback with specific examples within the writing.
In-class peer workshops for other students were beneficial too in the sense that our letter would come to life and help bounce similar (or different) opinions off different students. or example, I always liked when someone would comment on how humorous a specific line was and the rest of the class would laugh, agreeing with the same comment. Other times, I liked how we would debate whether a certain section needed more detail or did not, if the structure needed to change or it was effective as is. Overall, I liked the structure of workshops (1 minute reading, 8 minutes of strengths, 10 minutes of potential improvements, and 10 minutes of letting the author speak). No matter whose writing it was and no matter what the length of the writing was, we normally all were able to keep talking for that amount of time. If anything, some times we wished we had more and had so much to discuss. Although the process seemed intimidating at first, it became a standard process that I enjoyed, coming to class and ready to chat about others’ writing for the entire class period. And the most important part for me was that we were able to engage in every person’s writing, which not only helped me to understand their writing style better, but also to learn more about my cohort’s individuals experiences that make them who they are. They’re interesting!