Writing in Real-time
Editor’s Note: The assignment was simple: at 8pm on a Wednesday night, three QC Voices bloggers were to log into a Google document. At the top of the document was a question: “What does it mean to ‘Write with Friends’?” For the next hour, the bloggers were to take turns composing sentences in the hopes of building towards an answer to the prompt. Nobody knew what would emerge.
Here is what happened.
Writing with friends implies the communal, the ritualistic. To write with friends is to share ideas and explore different concepts. Just as interactions among friends involve intrapersonal communication, writing with friends involves the sharing of ideas between peers to improve our writing. Writing is more often than not a private act, an individual meditation. However, when writing with different people, you are no longer just expressing your own ideas, but all of your ideas. Although it can be intimidating to publicly write one’s personal meditations, writing with friends becomes a place where ideas are shared and thus improved.
The act of writing, of creating together, bridges the gap between our lived experiences. Each person can only provide insight on their own individual experiences; however, when writing with other people, a collective voice is formed. This collective voice is no longer the musings of a single entity, but rather joins the multiple personalities of friends.
Writing in a group collapses the distinction between reader and writer; each person transforms the text to his or her own end, revises his or her thought process, adapts organically. A collective piece enables each writer to maintain his/her voice while still being a part of a larger community. Take, for instance, our QC Voices community. Each blogger weaves an individual thread of this greater narrative. The individual threads represent the blogger’s voice, or essence, that come together to form the QC community tapestry.
QC Voices is not just a space for different people to write about their different life experiences, it is also an online community for us bloggers to collaborate and share our thoughts as Queens College students. Drawing from our divergent backgrounds, interests, and aspirations, the QC Voices blog provides a window into the lives of the undergraduate and graduate students of Queens College.
The contributors and their reflections:
Christina Torossian: I found this experience fascinating. I’d even go as far to say that the experience was slightly humorous. Our attempts at completing each other’s thoughts seemed impossible in the beginning, and the result was near comical. However, towards the end I found that the process was a little easier. Combining all of our thoughts into a piece of writing was truly the most unique writing experience I’ve ever had.
Rachel Wessel: The experience of writing collectively with the group of bloggers was at times difficult. It was hard to accommodate for the vastly different writing styles and to have to start new thoughts when past thoughts weren’t completed. Still, I enjoyed it and felt like I was more connected to my fellow bloggers.
Mike Fu: Writing collectively in real time was a challenge, albeit an interesting one. It fostered a very different dynamic for the process of transcribing thought to text, given the need to adapt quickly to others’ contributions.