For the last half year I’ve been questioning myself about reviews. The usual as others do. Are they good enough? Too long? Too short? Too criticial? Not critical enough? Right format? We all do it from time to time. And while I did change little things in my book reviewing format, most things did stay the same. I’m a creature of habit.
There was however one other thing that I noticed about myself. Despite having a lot of reviews planned in ahead of time, writing reviews stressed me out. Enough so that I didn’t enjoy sharing my thoughts, I struggled writing my thoughts down and I didn’t note down anything about the book or quotes for my review to write. Even books I loved and would normally gush about, I had a hard time writing a review for. It smelled a lot like a review slump. Because even those are a thing.
I’m sure you haven’t noticed as I still post about two reviews a week. Planning ahead is quite lovely in that regard.
I could not keep up
I think the main problem for me was that I could not keep up at a certain point. I started reading more than my usual average of 7-8 books a month. As I have to be in a certain mood and prefer to be alone when typing my reviews, I would already have read maybe 2-3 books further than that one review I still needed to write. And other books would be added along the way to be reviewed. It would stack up.
I could not keep my own thoughts straight on each one. I’m not a big note taker as is during reading and I was often more focused with picking up my next book than writing down some notes. There have been reviews where I haven’t even mentioned a character’s name because I literally couldn’t even remember. However this caused me stress down the line when I realized I needed to review some of these books.
Forcing myself to write reviews because I thought it was expected
When you take on review requests and request books on Netgalley, you are expected to review books. That I know and I have no problem with that obviously. But what caused me to stress was the books that were not review copies. Books where people would say, ‘I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it.’ This is obviously not anyone else that is putting expectations on me. I say this a lot too because I am curious about other people’s thoughts on some books but it is never meant as an expectation for a review. More a curiousity, and that could just be one line or a conversation. But my brain translated this to something different. Why do brains do this? Really, brain, stop it.
I thought it was expected of me to review all the books all the time. Even books I had very little to say about. I feared running out of reviews to put up even though I had two reviews planned in each week, a month ahead of time. This put such a pressure on myself that I lost the fun of writing reviews.
2018, not review ALL the books
Seeing all of this I know I want to change this for myself for next year. Writing reviews should not feel like such a choir. I don’t NEED to have two reviews each week. If I only post two reviews a month I’m sure I’m not going to be kicked out of the book blog club. (Which is also the whole annoying bit about my brain because I don’t think a book blog needs to post reviews to be one.)
I don’t owe anyone my review unless it is a review request. So I want to push back the need I feel to always review everything. That will be hard. So here are some things to help.
- If I haven’t reviewed a book in a certain time than it is okay to just let it go.
- Sometimes it is okay to review a book in a different format if I just want to shout my love about it. Like I did with The Language of Thorns.
- I also don’t have to review all books in a series seperately. Series reviews are fine to do as well.
- There is a good chance I’m going to let go of reviewing very popular books on occasions. I read Red Rising in October and decided not to review it as so many have already shared their thoughts. I didn’t think mine would add much and I didn’t love or dislike the book either.
Do you review all the books you read? If not, how do you choose what books you review and which not? Have you ever felt like I did? Do you have any tips on how to let it go more?