Something that is always on my mind every time I write a book review is, “How long should it be?” Quickly followed by should I write a detailed and complex review exploring the writing techniques or whatever in the books. Thoughts in that same line just pop up all the time in my mind and it is HIGHLY discouraging and off-putting. It was only recently that I found a method to help for my problem. This post aims to speak of this daunting question on book reviewing and attempts to give you a solution that worked for me.
Please remember that this is based on my own personal experience. The solution, as I called it, may not be relevant or work for you. It is only a suggestion and not the “Be all and end all.”
Am I supposed to be writing long, detailed and complex book reviews?
As a beginner within the book blogging community I had no foundation to start from other than other book blogs or book reviewers in Goodreads. The more I found and read, a pattern seemed to form. First, they were long. Second, there was detail. Lastly, it discussed complexities within the book. Also, an additional was comparisons, this was rare and mostly found in negative or ‘meh’ books reviews. Noting all of this, 16-year-old me thought ‘I am not that kind of writer.’ But I was stubborn so I tried my hand at it and failed. I could not write a long, detailed or complex review. I couldn’t talk confidently about story progression, the plots and sub-plots or even the authors writing style. My reviews tended to go along the lines of my feelings. (How I felt about the characters and what I thought about the story in general)
There are so many book bloggers and reviewers on the internet. They can be found in almost every platform Goodreads, Tumblr. YouTube and etc.. So many of them have this method already down to the tee, it seems, and as a beginner it seems logical to imitate that method. You think ‘if it works for them why can’t it work for you?’ Of course, I’m not saying it won’t work for everybody because there will be plenty of cases where it will but in my case it did not work. In fact, this really made me hate blogging. This constant trying to live up to the mould of book reviewing. It made writing anything for my blog stressful and unpleasant. It was only recently that I figured out why I hated blogging and reviewing so much because I never attributed my problems to trying to fit in the mould. Even more recently I found a solution to help with my problem.
Answer – Who cares about all that?
Blogging isn’t about rules and regulations over every little thing. If you choose to write 1000-word book reviews go for it! If you want to write 100-word book reviews go crazy! Nobody has the right to decide and/or change your writing just because they think or believe in one way of doing it. The beauty about blogging is that it’s personalised to YOU. It is your thoughts, your feelings and everything else you. I think if a blog were devoid of this it wouldn’t be very interesting at all. The thing about book reviews (my personal opinion) is it is to express your opinions and feelings about a book you’ve read or a book you DNF’ed (DNF – did not finish). If you’re like me, someone who promptly forgets things right after any event, such as reading, and also struggles to put your feelings into words. The stress of writing a book review is wholly unwelcome and unneeded stress.
So, my answer is don’t worry about what other people think. It is your blog. First and foremost, you should be writing for you and not anybody else. It may not seem easy, and I’m not saying it is because I still fall into that pit all the time when I write, but just try to remember that your words are your own and nobody else’s. Besides nobody has a perfect formula for blogging!
I wrote this because as a beginning blogger I feel that it needed to be said. I’m not sure if anybody else has experienced this but I feel like a problem wont ever be addressed if we keep things like these held back. To improve the community we should constantly be addressing the problems (minor or otherwise) so others will be more at ease as they begin blogging. Blogging is not an exclusive club everyone is welcome! So if you are a beginner book blogger or any blogger, my advice is, please yourself before anybody else and be proud of your writing. Find your own way of blogging.
Enjoy the book blogging community!