Sometimes I Don’t Like Writing Reviews

Posted January 29, 2019 by Sophia
40 Comments

person typing on laptop with notebook and penI used to find writing reviews easy.

I wrote a review for virtually every book that I read since I started Bookwyrming Thoughts in November 2012. In fact, reviews probably made up the majority of book blogging back then, aside from promotions. But since late 2015 or early 2016, I’ve been struggling with writing reviews. Things happened, sure, but normally I can get back into reviewing so easily.

Maybe I used to be a super hyper new blogger puppy who thought blogging was super shiny and new and pretty and wanted to do all the things. Can anyone else relate to this? I’ve seen it, though.

But now? Now I feel like I’m struggling.

Sure, I struggled a lot back then with books that unleashed no feelings whatsoever from me aside from one word or two words with maybe a maximum of three sentences. I’m sure lots of bloggers can say the same. #thestruggleisreal.

But it wasn’t this bad?

My voice feels flat sometimes.

There are times when I start writing a review and putting thoughts on paper but three sentences later, I look up and realize, “Oh, that doesn’t sound like me. I sound like 15-year-old me who just started blogging and had little experience writing.”

Why am I so harsh on myself sometimes. I just want my writing to be the best that I can showcase of myself.

They’re not as fun to write anymore.

I have a smol attention span sometimes, which is why I’m even surprised I lasted six years of book blogging. At the rate I go sometimes, I would have twelve blogs by now, all of them dealing with different topics (occasionally I’ll go back to a former topic). I think I’m having a blogging crisis.

But reviews are beginning to not be as fun – what was once enjoyable is now a bit of a struggle. And maybe… maybe this is why I experienced burnout in my internship. Oops.

A lot of bloggers have been helpful enough to provide different ways to spice things up with reviews – all of which are helpful! Changing things up is nice and I do it myself occasionally because otherwise, I’ll get bored. Bored = no posts. Bored = lack of posts. Bored = posts I wouldn’t read if I didn’t blog.

I don’t know what or how to say things sometimes.

Coherently, that is. I know how I feel and an idea, but I have no clue how to execute it on paper without sounding like the worst reviewer on the planet. Or feeling like I didn’t give the book enough justice – screaming isn’t exactly professional in a review methinks. Screaming about books on Discord, though, that’s another story.

I get so exhausted.

I don’t think this one applies to book reviews – I think it applies to every aspect of blogging sometimes.

I love blogging, I really do. I love interacting with other bloggers and readers, especially those I’ve met on Discord, who I talk to on an often basis. I love creating posts and talking about the things I love with those who stop by – there’s so much to learn about each other! Let’s connect and scream about the little things that make us happy in life.

But OMG, it can be exhausting sometimes. It’s not that I don’t like blogging or want to quit blogging – it’s more like I want to lie down and do nothing for a month or two. At the exact same time, I don’t want to do anything – not blogging, not reading, not commenting, etc. I want to do something, anything because I would get terribly bored. I’m in a conflict with myself and sometimes, I don’t know how I’m going to get out of it if I ever do. 😭

Let’s talk, bookwyrms! Do you struggle with reviews sometimes? Are you experiencing burnout? How do you cope with it?

Sophia is a socially awkward Communications major who has a GIF for nearly everything and is frequently in a Hogwarts House Crisis. More of her bookish reviews can be found at The Arts STL.

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40 responses to “Sometimes I Don’t Like Writing Reviews

  1. Danielle

    How do you know how exactly what I’m feeling, SOPH?!? Dammit you’re so talented at writing. But seriously. Your blogging reviewing burnout is how I feel a lot of times when I blog too. That’s why I feel safe around doing readathons and weekly memes and prompts so much on my blog because I feel like I can’t DO anything else!! Which is embarrassing on my part because I’m a writer first, a blogger second. Or at least I used to be….
    Anyway, so sorry you feel burnt out. Just know I’m here for you and I feel similarly and you’re not alone. ❤️

  2. My blog is just two years old and I absolutely recognise what you’re saying about reviews. Sometimes I really have no idea what to say about a book, especially about five star books or sequels. And sometimes yes, it’s a struggle. Because some stories you can’t just review in that. So that’s why I took the idea of mini reviews and bullet point reviews and they are really helpful. However, you can’t do that all the time so let’s hope we will get back into reviewing properly!

    • Nope, definitely can’t do that all the time! I feel it’s kind of forcing myself to blog that way and that usually makes blogging less fun than it really is. I generally go with my gut feeling when it comes to writing reviews – if my gut feels I should tell more to support my review, then I’ll make it long. If I feel like doing a list and I feel it’s enough, I’ll do that instead.

  3. As a beginner, I’ve been reading your blogs and everyone else’s and I’m just in awe and feel so lost with it all, but I guess it’s a bit comforting to know that even the amazing veterans have their struggles. I really hope you find something that just snaps it all back together for you, I may be new, but I completely understand the struggle of feeling burnt out! Thanks so much for being really honest about this and sharing it with us <3

  4. Wow, that first point really struck me. I’ve just started blogging but I’m struggling to find my “voice”. I don’t feel like my writing is good enough, especially because I’m very “matter-of-fact” (I blame my journalism background). And, in this community, it feel like you have to be a little quirky and funny. I’m not like that.

    I hope your burnout goes away. Or that you can overcome it somehow. Have you thought about taking a small break? Maybe it can help. Make you miss it and all that.

    • Aww, I enjoy your writing and I’m sure there are others who feel the same way. While sure, most people aspire to be quirky and funny, I wouldn’t force yourself either. Your blog is your blog and you should blog while being yourself. <3 Occasionally I write a few journalism related articles but it's always difficult because I'm used to being a little quirky and funny (well, I try).

      I think I kind of am taking a break a little, haha. All that work scheduling during Winter Break and all. 😉

  5. I struggle so much with writing reviews sometimes, especially after I haven’t written one in weeks due to a slump. It’s like if I don’t use that skill it erodes or something! But burnout is also a thing for me, I feel it most when I am reading high quantities and get backlogged.

    Great post as always!

  6. I’m sorry you are feeling burnt out 🙁 I hope you are able to find a good balance and get your mojo back!! And I’m glad you don’t want to quit blogging altogether because I love your blog!

  7. Well Sophia this is honest! And sometimes I don’t know how to write reviews either because: the book was just “meh” not bad but how to make it sound good? Or because it was so well written and fantastic that I am speechless.

    • “Sometimes I don’t know how to write reviews either because: the book was just “meh” not bad but how to make it sound good? Or because it was so well written and fantastic that I am speechless.” YES. This is ME a LOT. All you want to say in the review is “meh” or “SO GOOD GO READ IT NOW EVERYONE” but that wouldn’t work for a review copy, LOL.

  8. Honestly the fact that I’m seeing so many people hype up books doesn’t really help either.. I expect SO much from certain books and not all of them live up to it.. I just try to type up notes and try to make a nice review, get my sister of friends to read it.

    • “I expect SO much from certain books and not all of them live up to it.” Honestly, SAME. I’ve given up at this rate and just hope I enjoy the book as much as everyone else does.

  9. I feel that way. Probably why I took such a long break, among other real life issues that made writing a chore. I love writing. I want to write better reviews, but I am still struggling. Always looking for a new way to make it fun.

    • Me too. I’ve changed my styles a few times, but I’m sure I’ll get tired of this style soon and will eventually go on to a new style until I’m bored of that one and go on – the cycle goes on and on.

  10. “a super hyper new blogger puppy who thought blogging was super shiny and new and pretty and wanted to do all the things” wow @ me next time Soph (ง •̀_•́)ง

    but for real, putting words together into a review – or any kind of blog post – is really hard, and taken as part of the endless content cycle? it can definitely be draining. I’ve been giving myself permission to write shorter and shorter reviews, though that does mean most of them aren’t really worth putting up on my blog, and I end up having to scramble for more posts, which in the end might be more work? but I’m having fun writing up memes and tags, so maybe it’s worth it. idk.

    • NOPE NEVER. Also I was that hyper new blogger puppy at one point, so hushhhh. (You know you love me.) I always keep a good balance (okay, not always, but lately) between reviews for books I’ve read months ago and recent reads (usually those are ARCs) so I always have some content to put up on the blog if I don’t have enough. I’ve found it a great excuse, though. But I definitely get scrambling for more posts! Memes and tags are great, though, and they’re lot easier and fun to write, so I’d say it’s well worth it. 😉

  11. Struggling writing things right now, in all honesty. I have about four reviews to finish and a few miscellaneous posts, and every time I start working on them it just feels absolutely punishing. I think it’s the winter blues combined with being super busy with school, but it’s still a huge bummer!

  12. This. I grok all of this so much. Medical issues leave me fatigued often, and brain fuzzy more and more. I go to write a review and have no words. Or no energy, so then they back up and I stressed. I try to remember- one thing at a time, and life or the world won’t end if something doesn’t get done.

    • Aww, sorry to hear that, Aislynn! I’m glad you’re remembering to do one thing at a time and not stressing yourself out when the task is done. 🙂

  13. I’m going through this a bit right now, just don’t feel like writing reviews. Writing isn’t easy, and after almost 3 years of writing reviews, I still hate a lot of them and wonder if I’m doing it right.

    • I’m sure you’re doing great, Angela! There’s not really a right or wrong way to write a review, I think. Everyone’s styles are different. <3

  14. Yeah, I think this is something we all struggle with. We get burned out a tired, and it seems SO redundant to write reviews. Mixing it up helps me a lot. But even still, I don’t write long, formatted reviews as often anymore.

  15. I feel you. Even when I am gaga about a book, I struggle with sounding enthusiastic and being able to properly communicate my feelings. It’s hard when I am trying to keep it all spoiler free too. My Nutshell and One Old, One New features have helped me out a lot with this, as well as mixing in non-review books each week.

    • Ahhh, yes! Sometimes figuring out the right words to properly convey your feelings for a book is hard and all you want to do is say, “GO READ THIS BOOK EVERYONE. THAT IS ALL.” Right now I’m in a backlog of books, though I’m trying hard not to pressure myself to write reviews for books that I feel don’t need a review.

  16. Wow it’s like you read my diary, *runs to room to check that you aren’t there*

    Like I said, I relate to this so much, and it’s hella hard to get back into reviewing and making decent reviews after you’ve stopped for a hella long time.

    • I DON’T WANT YOUR DIARY, SAM.

      And I agree – it took me awhile to get back to writing decent reviews, with a whole lot of reviews trailing behind my current ones that I’m not proud of because they’re not best work.

  17. I definitely struggle with reviews sometimes! Other times, the review comes to me so easily. That’s part of the reason why I let my reviews vary in length so much. If I don’t have much to say, I don’t push it 🙂

  18. I am thankful for book bloggers who do reviews. I listen to a ton of audiobooks and just star rate them. Hats off to you for doing this and since 2012!

  19. Great post Soph! I feel the exact same way. Reviews do get hard to write, especially when you see that they get very few views, which is ironic for a blog dedicated to book reviews. I usually try to cram as many reviews as I can in one writing session, so that when that writing slump hits me, I don’t get as overwhelmed by the overdue reviews pile when I do get back into writing them.

  20. Quote: “It’s not that I don’t like blogging or want to quit blogging – it’s more like I want to lie down and do nothing for a month or two. At the exact same time, I don’t want to do anything – not blogging, not reading, not commenting, etc. I want to do something, anything because I would get terribly bored.”
    LOL, even in the middle of all my scheduling, I feel that way sometimes. I think everybody does. Also, sometimes you feel like words aren’t coming by themselves, and you have to force them to somehow. It doesn’t matter if you loved the book or it felt just “meh”. I think after a while, maintaining a blog feels a tiny bit like work. When you start you don’t have expectations, nor readers – just a burning desire to speak your mind. Then it comes a point when you know you’re EXPECTED to produce content, and that kills your joy a little (even if you know it comes with having “loyal” readers). Especially with reviews, which should be the core of our work but counter-intuitively are our less read posts, one feels like throwing the towel – or on the contrary, one wants to write the most impressive review ever, and performance anxiety kills it.

    How do I cope? I’ve learnt that, if i dance around the IDEA of a review too much, it might never get written. So I dive in and carve words out of my mind. It’s like the first draft of a book – you just try to get the darned thing on paper (or webpage) somehow. Most of the times, surprisingly, it works. If it doesn’t, at least I have something written that I can return to later and make better. On the other hand…not all reviews are created equal. Some of them will stay underdeveloped no matter what. And since they AREN’T the first draft of a book, you’re allowed to let them go at a certain point.

  21. Oof, butk kudos to focusing on writing as a career and not letting not blogging a lot bother you! I feel there’s less pressure with backlist books to review since we’re not obligated to unless we want to, which is nice. Books being requested, on the other hand, well… we’re kind of obligated to do a review at the very least I feel, though sometimes things happen and we don’t get to those ARCs.

  22. Hey Sophia!
    I get you 🙂 Sometimes I just don’t know what to write in a book review, especially when I’m not super excited about the book that I am reviewing. If it is a book that I don’t have much to say about, sometimes I just write a mini-review that is literally several hundred words long haha.

  23. Clo

    *pats Soph* Reviews and I have always had a bit of a weird relationship to say the least. I get round to writing them eventually but my blog is primarily made up of discussions and erm tags I think. I went through a serious bout of burnout after I experimented with posting at least once everyday last erm April I think it was. It took me two months to recover enough from that to get back into posting content other than weekly wrap ups.

    Since then, I still get the feeling of burnout creeping in when I let EVERYTHING hit me all at once, ahem *stares at the blog* Blogging is exhausting, draining and makes you want to face plant the bed for two months. *hides from the back log of comments*

    At the same though, I adore blogging with everyone bone in my body, the people I’ve met, the things I’ve learned so far. Both about blogging and other topics, it’s also unintentionally led me to learn quite a bit about myself. What I’m like as a person *I sometimes spread myself to thin and we’re working on this* – I had a crap sleep schedule which I thought was fine. I could cope, it’d be alright said everyone at some point. Now I’m changing it and it’s not easy, but it’s worthwhile.

    I’m sorry you’ve got stuck in a review burnout though, we can sob together as I’m still struggling with my reading slump 🙁

  24. Oh my god I totally agree with all of those points! Like O would much rather write other posts? I thought I was the only one who felt that way…

    But yeah it can literally be a headache sometimes.

  25. I feel this post on SO many levels. Reviews are some of the worst things to right, especially if it wasn’t a book I was excited about. I just feel that dedicating a load of time to writing about a book I was meh about is a waste which then turns into… I’m not going to write ANY book reviews.