Earlier today I posted a question on a group for bloggers on Facebook. I had been struggling with my reviews, not because the books were no good, not because they weren’t evoking any strong emotions in me but more because I felt as though I was beginning to repeat myself in every review and I was worried that I was losing my oomph. I posted the following to see if anyone else was feeling like this and to see what words of wisdom and inspiration my fellow bloggers could provide:
“Recently I’ve been feeling really disappointed in my reviews and feel that I’m repeating myself and struggling to find original words and phrases to describe the brilliant books I’ve been lucky enough to read. I don’t know if it is because for the last month or so most of my reading has been for blog tours and the whole deadline/commitment thing? I’m not behind schedule and I always ensure that my BT books are read and prepped in loads of time for my slot but I’m wondering if this is impacting on my reviews? I don’t know if this is the reason and not saying it is? When I write a review, I want to put my heart and soul into it, I want it to make people want to read the book but feel I’m falling flat recently.
This isn’t a complaint or a whinge (as I only ever agree to blog tours for books that I’d want to read) and it isn’t an attention seeking post looking for people to tell me how great my reviews are.
It is more a plea for inspiration – how do other people keep their reviews alive and full of sparkle? Do other people get like this too (peer support is always good if you know it just isn’t you!)”
As usual, the blogging community came up trumps and the encouragement, support and empathy was evident as each and every blogger told me that they all felt the same at some time. Suggestions included reading something out with my usual genre, reading a book that I hadn’t committed to review and simply to read it to experience it without any pressure to review. It was such a relief to know that other bloggers experienced the same at least some of the time. One helpful reminder came from Anne over at randomthingsthroughmyletterbox Anne encouraged me to look at it another way, she suggested that I thought about my favourite authors and to think of their style, the way that when I read their books I heard their “voice”. Reviewers, she suggested, are the same, we all have our own unique “voice” and so our reviews become recognisable as “ours”, as us. Anne reminded me that our reviews are valued and that we shouldn’t try too hard to change what we say or how we say it or we are in danger of losing our voice, our uniqueness. This is a fabulous piece of advice and it really made me think and to think about why I started blogging in the first place:
- Initially, I started blogging to keep a record of all the fabulous books that I had read, I read so much that it would never have been possible to remember them all without such a list! So essentially my blog and reviews were set up for me, for me to read, to remember and to enjoy and so why does it matter if I repeat words or develop my own unique voice to say how a book made me feel.
- I wanted to encourage other people to read and enjoy the books that gave me so much pleasure; I wanted others to understand the intense feelings and emotions that reading can bring; how they can transport you to other places and times and give you a perspective on the world that you may never have thought of before. I knew that when I read reviews I wasn’t interested in sentence structure or literary techniques used in the book, I wanted to know how a book made the reader feel, I wanted to feel their passion for the characters, what was it that engaged them with the characters and the plot; did the book draw them into the place where it was written, could they see, hear, taste and smell what was happening around them, did the book make them laugh, cry, hide behind the couch in fear. These were the things that I wanted to hear about a book and so these were the reviews that I wanted to write.
- I wanted to support the authors who pour their heart and soul into their work to provide me the hours of enjoyment that books bring me. For me, it was all about #TheLoveOfBooks
So, given my motivation for blogging and my love of crime fiction then maybe I just need to accept that there are only a finite number of words I can use (that I would use in real life); that these words are part of “my voice” and my style and this is OK. I am going to take on board the other suggestions too but most of all I’m just going to keep on using “my voice” and giving support to all my other blogging buddies out there to do the same!
I’d love to hear if you have also experienced similar feelings and what you have done to counter this!