Friday, May 25, 2018

So I've Been Thinking...

Happy Friday!

I truly mean this, it is a happy Friday because today was the last student-day of the year. Teachers have to be at school next Tuesday and Wednesday for year-end meetings and classroom tear-down but I am THISCLOSE to summer vacation with my daughter before she starts KINDERGARTEN. It terrifies me to write those words, for so many reasons. Mostly, I don't even know how she is almost five. I feel like just yesterday she was a baby and now I have this mature little lady.

Now to the serious stuff.

I love reading and I love talking about books. I love writing and researching and basically if it has to do with a book or reading, I love it. I love reading, got it?!

I love sharing my love of books, but honestly, sometimes I put way too much pressure on myself to churn out reviews and it is making book blogging decidedly not fun anymore.

There, I said it. Blogging is not as fun as it used to be.

This is mostly my fault. I requested way too many ARCs and galleys and that is where my biggest stress is coming from in being behind on reviews. When I started my own writing project, I pushed the ARCs aside and went headfirst into that. I still am aiming for the first draft to be done by August 1st. And yet...all these damn ARCs are in the way.

I have to review them. Yes, even the ones that I received after they were published. Even the ones that were published two years ago. I have to, because that is my end of the deal. I can't imagine too many things worse for a writer than letting your precious words go out into the bloggosphere and hearing...nothing back.

I would hate for that to happen to me, and I don't want to be someone who does that to a fellow author. I enjoyed the books (most of them, anyway), so they each deserve a well-thought out review.

And that is the problem.

I (almost) always try my best to give a thoughtful review to each book and unless their are extenuating circumstances and the author turns out to be a terrible person or insane, I aim to be constructive in my critique for things that could be fixed, and generous with my praise for everything that went right. But, those reviews take a long time for me to do, a couple hours each sometimes. I comb through my notes on Goodreads, I (sparingly) check out at least a few other reviews to see if I am way off-base on my interpretation, and I try to provide examples that are most pertinent to my opinion.

If you hang out here a lot, you might have noticed I have not posted many reviews in a while. It's exhausting sometimes, plain and simple. A few months ago I created an "Upcoming Reviews" page to try and hold myself accountable. It has backfired completely because I have let the list get so huge, I don't even look at it anymore when I add a book to the list. It makes me want to cry.

I'm not even totally sure where I am going with this. I am venting a little, but I know that now that summer is here, I need to get both my own book, and these mounds of reviews done. But I also will always put my daughter first, and all the fun things we have planned this summer.

Reviews can take a long time and I will never stop reviewing, but I also know that I read a bit more non-fiction than most. I love to talk about bookish things, and I find more conversations happening on posts that are not reviews. I want to go where the conversations are, but I also want to review without spending hours on something that no one reads. (And, I know that they do get read, so thank you! I am just being dramatic right now.)

So my solution for the time being is that I will continue to review, but sometimes they may be a bit shorter than something I have churned out in the past. I've read plenty of books over the last year where a paragraph would have sufficed. I am hoping to have a more healthy mix of longer and shorter reviews sprinkled in with all the bookish fun going on - the Top Ten Tuesdays, Would You Rathers..., First Line Fridays, Stacking the Shelves, State of the ARCs, and whatever else I find that amuses me.

If you stuck with me to the end of this rant, thank you.
As always, let me know your thoughts and how you maintain your sanity while reading and reviewing.

Happy Reading!
Sarah

6 comments:

  1. I understand the pressure to 'perform' for your blogging audience but if you're not enjoying it because of that you need to step back a bit. If the choice is between you blogging less and blogging not at all then, personally, I'd rather you blog less often and/or review books less deeply. I know its easy to get completely sucked into and overwhelmed by your on-line existence but you have an IRL existence too! Blog, yes. But blog because you want to - not because you think we want you to.

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    1. Thank you so much, that helps a lot. I love the feature kinds of posts but it really is the reviewing aspect that is slowly becoming the drain on my energy. I try to give most books the care that I would want my own to have, but sometimes that is just not possible. I am going to work on being more succinct and not quite as in-depth - like, do you really need five examples of why I think this thought, or will two suffice?

      ...Unless of course the book is written by Dan Jones. Then I will be going on and on about his brilliance, as usual, lol.

      Thank you for your thoughts, I appreciate them and you!

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    2. Sometimes my reviews are just a quick paragraph - especially if it was a poor book. Other times it can run to a page and a half as the words just pour out. Do whatever you feel you need to. Be brief when its appropriate and verbose when the muse takes you. Don't feel the need to review everything you read either. Be selective. If a book was 'meh' just post a single word review. We'll all understand! [lol]

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    3. LOL! I LOVE THE IDEA OF A SINGLE-WORD REVIEW!! It will simply be...no.

      I have become much more selective recently, it's like you read my mind! There have been a few books lately that I gave a sentence or two on Goodreads and that's it. It felt really good to do that and move on.

      In the past I have even reviewed books that were terrible in my eyes, but I think from now on, unless something REALLY rankles me, I will stick to no review or a minuscule one. Before, those were the books I gave the longest reviews to because I wanted to thoroughly explain my position and why I thought the book was bad. But, NO MORE! I'm glad you guys and gals understand me :)

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  2. I understand what you are saying about reviews. I love reading other people's reviews and I like posting them on my blog...but I hate writing the buggers! It can take me two hours to get a book review written and that it a lot of time to spend on something when there are other things I need to do. I do have books that I read earlier this year waiting to be reviewed but time is the issue. So I can relate to what you say about that. I can imagine that also having your own writing project makes it a lot tougher to get anything else done. When I do a review I want it to be a decent one that informs anyone reading it, not something thrown together because I have no time. I've had to let the reviews go the last few weeks and devote time elsewhere but I am making a comeback! There is no magic solution but I think it's important to say that I enjoy your blog however many reviews you do, so do what suits you best.

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    1. Thank you so much! I am glad to hear that people like stopping by here to see what I am up to. it is so easy to look at everything I plan to do, get overwhelmed, and then not do any of it. I know a lot of people schedule posts and make weekly plans to read and review, but I have never been able to do that, it makes it seem like work and work is NOT fun. Plus, even when I know I have ARCs to read, I have let myself go when I am not feeling like reading them, and read something I was interested in for that moment instead. The part that is tripping me up the most is the detail in some of my reviews, and the fact that I want to review the ARCs because I said I would. I will hopefully be productive this weekend and at least make a dent. Thanks for your support!

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