4 Benefits of Peer Editing

A first draft is almost never perfect; instead, a first draft is like a rough sketch or doodle. The more drafts, the more art is created. You can perform a self-edit by checking your work for spelling mistakes, unclear sentences, and grammar errors. However, asking a peer to edit your work can be much more valuable, even if you're a good editor yourself. It's easy to overlook errors when editing your own writing because your brain automatically fills in the blanks of what you meant to say.

Here are some of the benefits that can come from peer review:

Ensure consistency

A great way to improve consistency and common usage of concepts among collaborating writers is peer review. It also ensures that your style guide works, as what sounds good to you might not for the majority of other people. You really should have a style guide before you peer edit and then use your experiences and findings to fill in the gaps, throw out what you don’t need and change what doesn’t work. This style is developed with each subsequent draft, and with the style input of your peers.

Realize growth opportunities

Peer editing is a quick and pretty reliable reality check to what each writer does and doesn’t do well, relatively speaking, compared to other writers. And I don’t only mean writing weaknesses. As a writer, hearing your strengths can help you develop your writing. Everyone writes just a little differently, and knowing your strengths can help you develop your personal style, and with it, add a new strength to your writing.

Encourage mutual trust

Mutual trust gives all writers a formal, regular opportunity to check in with each other’s work. It can anchor the good practice to take responsibility for one another’s work – and to learn to listen to others criticize your work. In the best case, it helps colleagues to grow into a team where people trust each other. Being able to trust and rely on one another for writing development fosters an environment where the group is building one another up, not trying to outcompete everyone else.

Enhance group dynamics

If you’ve come to trust each other, you’ll find you collaborate better. Knowing each other’s strengths, you can become more efficient and more productive as a team, just as members of a sports team know almost instinctively how the others act. By focusing on strengthening the good parts on your writing while fixing the bad parts helps not just the writer but the editor; by knowing what to look for, the editor can then refrain from making the same errors. By working as a group you all have the opportunity to improve one another through the improvement of others. Why not help both parties?

There is a limit to the amount of peer editing that can do good. You don’t want to adopt a style worldly different than your own; there are many right ways of writing, chances are your style just needs some tweaking. That being said, peer review has a plethora of benefits that just don’t seem to be getting enough usage. If you want to improve your paper, edit your work! But don’t be afraid to ask a buddy; chances are, he or she has some pretty stellar input.