I have literally just come back from my SATs. My test included the essay, and man oh man, I would have really liked my fellow peer editors in there.
If you are unfamiliar with the SAT essay, allow me to explain. Within 50 minutes, you have to read the passage given and state how persuasive the writer made his or her work. It’s not a lot of time, but it’s also not too little. But time wasn’t the problem for me. My flaws were. I just read over the essay in the last 8ish minutes I had left and silently wept. God, I miss my classmates.
There are four steps in the process of writing an essay:
One, planning and thinking.
The third step is usually not considered to be important, but it is. Oh, it is.
Usually, I hand out my rough drafts to various people. Though reading the exact same work, some people make my paper bleed out with marks and others barely write anything, usually complimenting just about everything. Seeing their paper bleed out in front of them, some may find themselves feeling stupid and depressed.
I, on the other hand, don’t. Yes, it does break my heart to see my poor paper bleed out in front of me. But no, now I see improvement. Now I know how and where to fix it and why I should. The mistakes that I missed–spelling errors, grammar errors, punctuation errors–are now caught and have a chance at getting it fixed.
Through this editing process, I learn as both the editor and the writer. When I am editing someone’s paper, it is not rare to find an amazing statement or way of wording things. Amazing how much skill these high school students have in writing. The way some argue their statement so strong and firm is also amazing. Makes me want to just highlight those lines and never return the drafts to them. Oops?
And as I am correcting my paper with the help of other editors, I learn and figure out that my “ways” of writing aren’t always correct. To me, my argument may seem clear and strong, but to others, it may be super confusing. Just like that, I learn as I go. We all do.
It’s a give and take thing; I edit other people’s works and help them, and they do the same for me. Thus, a writing community.
This is why I missed my peer editors in the big classroom far far away from my comfort zone. I knew for certain that there are so many mistakes on the paper right in front of me. I knew for sure that some of the SAT essay graders will not be able to understand what I am trying to argue. I really wished this essay was bleeding in front of me so that I could fix it. ❤
Word of the Day: frisson