Friday, April 29, 2011

Review Motivation?

Lately, I've been in a bit of a funk. Between working my butt off to raise money for NYC next month and trying to slay this monster TBR pile, I've had little time to sit down and do blog stuff. More importantly - little time to write reviews. So when I finally do get free time, I have to force myself to get some reviews written. And I don't know about how the rest of you book bloggers are, but when my writing mojo isn't intact and I have to demand it of myself, those reviews are usually about 350 words of pure hot mess.

So, book bloggers or book reviewers or whatever title you want to give yourself, my question for you is - how do you motivate yourself to write reviews?

Me? I usually read other reviews from some of my favorite bloggers. (This doesn't mean I take other people's thoughts or opinions. This is for inspiration only. Because if you haven't clued in yet, plagiarism = automatic epic fail) This can help me remember what I loved about it or what I hated about it; basically get my thoughts going. Another thing I like to do is go back and skim through the books. Certain scenes will catch my eye and re-reading them leaves the story fresh in my mind and so I won't feel like slamming my head into the wall when it comes time to transferring my thoughts to words.

Even though those techniques have worked for me the past two years, I'm having my first blogging crisis, so your thoughts and tips and advice will be greatly appreciated!

And I know that I'll probably hear this quite a few times, because it seems to be the best solution for people having a hard time with blogging, but for me, taking a break from Sophistikatied is not an option. I love this little website like a child and until something happens that literally takes all of my internet time away from me, I won't give up on it. I just need a bit of motivation is all!

So, interwebs, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to transform me into a lean, mean, review writing machine! Go!


  1. While reading I like to keep post its and write notes so I know what I can possibly add to my review after I've finished the book.

    I also like to have a piece of paper and write down some of my favorite quotes from the book - usually stuff that makes me laugh but I will read them at the end of the book for some review inspiration.

  2. Haha, I feel that way ALL the time. I usually feel most strongly while I read or right after I finish reading a book so, like Darla, I also jot down thoughts as I read. It's mainly just stream of conciousness as I jot down whatever comes to mind, but it really helps me write up the actual review, since I usually don't get my review "mojo" until I'm halfway through it. Go kick some review block butt! :)

  3. I've been having this same problem... Basically, I have to let myself not feel as perfectionistic towards it as I normally am. I have to just let myself write whatever comes to my mind, and then I go over it a few times before posting to make it sound more professional and such.

  4. I've recently started to write notes while reading the book. It helps me remember the characters names, basic happenings, etc.

    I've had a problem similar to yours before. I ended up changing my review style a little bit to better suit me, and since then I love writing reviews.

    Also, my review style is to just pour out whatever I thought about the book in a draft, then come back to it a couple hours later to edit it and make it sound more...flow-y.

    Hope you get out of your funk soon! I know firsthand that it's not fun. :/

  5. I jot down quick notes, too, and put post-it flags on pages of favorite or jarring scenes so I can go back and re-read while writing the review. The most important thing that I do, I think, is sit down and write down a quick outlines as soon as I finish the book. Then I can go back in a day or two and polish everything up.

    If you are in a funk, I suggest that you read something totally outside of your normal reading zone. When I read too many books in the same genre, they all start to sound the same, and my writing mojo takes a hike.

    Also, don't put so much pressure on yourself - remember why you started blogging. To have fun, right? Change up your review format, or write the review to your favorite/least favorite character in the book you just read. Experiment with your writing until you find something that works for you now.

  6. I'm in a funk too :P
    Thanks for asking this question :)

  7. I was in the same place you a few months ago. I decided that I would no longer review every book I read. I also do 'quick pick' short reviews, and longer reviews for books that I want to talk more about. I also set aside a couple afternoons a month where I do nothing but format & schedule reviews and write other posts, so that way when it's time to write the review, I just sit down and write it. I breathe a lot easier having posts scheduled!

    I know my way of doing things isn't for everyone (you have to want to sit down and spend a few hours at a time on the blog) but it's helped me for sure.

    Good luck!

  8. Earlier in the month I was so where you are right now Katie. It happens where I'll end up with a stack of 5-6 books to review and I'm staring at a blank screen with no words coming to mind.

    Instead of taking a break what I have done a couple of times is go through the stack that needs reviewing and prioritize them. If they're ones I have to review because I requested them or whatever I rank them and then I choose one that I'm not going to review. Shaving one off the pile instead of taking a week off blogging sometimes gives me that "break" I was needing to get over that overwhelmed feeling that can sap my writing mojo.

    Good luck sweetie!

  9. I basically write on autopilot because I have specific days that I post reviews. My thought it, if I get the review up, that's one less that I have to do. I wouldn't short change the review but just say what you think. If it's a short review, it's a short review. Sit and think on the book for a second and think about what you liked and what you didn't. I do this a lot and sometimes it spurns more thoughts on the book and sometimes it doesn't. But it helps.

  10. I was in a reviewing funk about a month ago. Sometimes it does help to take some time off, but hiatuses suck (I don't blame you for not wanting to stop posting for any amount of time). I guess the best thing to do is to review books you're passionate about (or passionate about your hatred of ;), or to just switch things up a little bit. I've seen people who do lots of 'mini reviews' in one post, and I personally like setting music to a book or posting related pics or links and videos-- even just changing the font.

    Hope you can get out of the reviewing funk soon! :)