How Do You Words?

March 24, 2015 Discussion 57

We’ve all heard of reading slumps, most of us have probably experienced one more than once. No one like them. Yet I think I’ve found something that’s more frustrating for a book blogger than the inability to read: reviewing slumps. When it comes to reading slump, I know exactly how to fix it. I take a break, return to an old favourite, etc. By the end of the week I’ll be back reading like nothing was wrong. Reviewing slumps though are a whole other story.

What is a reviewing slump? It often looks like this:

writer's block

Basically a reviewing slump is writer’s block, but with reviews instead of stories.
The words just won’t flow. No matter how long you sit there, staring at your computer screen, you can’t formulate your thoughts on a book into a decent, cohesive sentence. Let alone an entire review. Even if you know what the book made you feel, there’s not enough there to construct a good review.

Fortunately I don’t experience these slumps often. During most of the year I’m too buy studying and doing boring real life things. Reading and reviewing are a nice break from it all. But when it does happen I can be stuck in these slumps for weeks. It makes me desperate to figure out how to get out of it. And this slump is a lot harder to break than you’d think.

If this was like a reading slump, forcing myself to write reviews might break this stupid mood. That isn’t a good idea when it comes to reviews. For some reason, when I’m in a review writing slump and force myself to write, my reviews get longer. . How do they get longer? I don’t understand?

They also become more boring. There’s no spark, no motivation, no logical flow of thoughts. You can tell which reviews I wrote in a slump and the reviews I rode in a fit of inspiration (there’s a few horrible reviews written at such a time scheduled).

One method I might utilise next time I’m struggling writing review may be to return to my ransom reviews, pirate themed reviews where I basically fangirl and use gifs to express my thoughts. I don’t write these often any more, but they are certainly fun. I’d love to post one every now and then. Changing up the review style might bring back my spark. Also having epic music playing in the background. Epic instrumental soundtracks are great for boosting motivation, they’re the reason I can study for hours on end.

Taking a small break from writing reviews also helps. Read a book or two you don’t have to review. For this I like to pick sequels from a series that hasn’t been reviewed on the blog yet, or maybe even reread an old favourite. Whatever book you choose just enjoy it without having to analyze the plot or writing or characters. I was lucky in that my last reviewing slump hit just before I read CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE, a planned break that turned out to be perfectly timed. Once I finished it blogging motivation had returned!

Have you ever experienced a reviewing slump?

How do you deal with them?


57 Responses to “How Do You Words?”

    • Bec

      They do eventually tend to let up, fortunately. Some last forever though and it’s so annoying, especially when you’re on holidays and reading heaps.

  1. Marianne @ Boricuam Bookworms

    I have reviewing slumps all the time! I just go into this crisis because I realise how behind I am on my reviews and I just freeze.The way I get through it is by watching a movie or my favorite show. Sometimes I just go through Tumblr and look a gifs until my brain decides to get creative again haha. Great post:)
    Marianne @ Boricuam Bookworms recently posted…Review: Jackaby by William Ritter

    • Bec

      Getting behind on reviews definitely makes the feeling worse! I spend time on tumblr to procrastinate writing the reviews haha.

      Thanks :)

    • Bec

      I try and break up review books with non review books frequently to avoid these slumps. It’s usually what works best (and how I got out of the slump that inspired this post, actually)

  2. Sara L.

    Yeah, writing slumps of any kind (whether reviews or stories) aren’t fun. I can attest to that. I don’t really have a special “cure” for it, either, except that I just work through the slump as best as I can. Switching to a different kind of writing (from a review to a more creative blog post) often helps me, too.

    You mentioned that your reviews grow longer when you’re in a reviewing slump. Maybe it’s because you’re having a harder time pinning down what you want to say, so you end up rambling?

    Either way, just be patient, Bec. You’ll put out of it soon enough. ;)
    Sara L. recently posted…My Eleven Favorite Literary Heroines

    • Bec

      Discussions do tend to be easier to write when I’m in a reviewing slump, haha.

      That’s exactly why they get longer! I ramble on the best days and in slumps it just gets worse.

  3. Mallory @ The Leaning Tower of Tomes

    I get in reviewing slumps every now and then. I’m the opposite of you: my reviews tend to get shorter. It’s so frustrating trying to get out of these slumps. I haven’t found my special trick to end them, but they don’t last too long, thank goodness. Eventually I find my rhythm again and I no longer have to dread staring at my blank Google Document anymore.
    Mallory @ The Leaning Tower of Tomes recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday — Books From My Childhood That I Would Love To Revisit

    • Bec

      It seems like these slumps are the biggest blogoverse mystery! No one has any real cure all tips for me. I find how long they last depends on my mood and the books I’m reading. Having that first review that just flows after a big slump is a great feeling

    • Bec

      I only started writing reviews immediately after finishing books last year and it certainly helps! It’s so much easier when everything is fresher in my brain. Unfortunately uni doesn’t always allow me to do that now, which may be why I’m in a slump again.

  4. Amanda @ Beautiful Bookish Butterflies

    There’s a lot of people struggling with reviewing lately and I can understand it, I really can, it’s a hard thing sometimes, when feelings just don’t come to you, when words don’t work, but there are many ways you can share your feelings other than reviews, and I talk about it tomorrow on my blog, so you might want to check it out! :)
    Amanda @ Beautiful Bookish Butterflies recently posted…Book Review – I’ll Give You the Sun

    • Bec

      That post sounds really interesting! Hopefully I can come back and look at it someday soon :) There are definitely other ways to express feelings. A lot of people do mini reviews I’ve noticed, or recommendation posts and the like.

  5. Killian

    I haven’t been blogging for too long but I definitely know what you mean. While I don’t get it as badly as you, there have been many times where I just can’t write anything. Thankfully, I don’t just do book reviews, so if I’m really stuck I can write something music related in the meantime. That’s basically what I’ve been doing for the past month because it’s taking me ages to re-read The Way Of Kings by Brandon Sanderson (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).
    Killian recently posted…Friday Playlist: Emotional Songs That Give Me Chills, Part Two (featuring Of Montreal, The Mountain Goats, Fugazi and many more)

    • Bec

      I hope you never have to experience a slump as bad as what I have! It’s so frustrating.

      Switching reviews up with other posts to break up the monotony definitely helps keep the passion in what you do and ward off the slumps.

  6. Alma @ Journey Through Fiction

    You’ve summed up exactly how I feel! I’m in the middle of a reviewing slump, and it’s such a pain in the rear! I currently have 9 books I’ve read that I need to review, and the words are floating somewhere far, far away from me and my computer. It’s very frustrating! I really like your idea about changing review style for a little while. I think I might give it a go, and hopefully it’ll help me get some words flowing again :) Thanks for the tips!
    Alma @ Journey Through Fiction recently posted…Favourite Books From My Childhood

    • Bec

      I hope you can get out of it soon! A lot of people do mini reviews, or gif reviews, etc. Sometimes just not being serious and having fun with the reviews is enough to break the slump.

  7. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    Gah! The hated writer’s block! I get them too, sometimes it’s like you’re just unable to think or form sentences or whatever, it’s so frustrating. Usually for me, just writing down in point form what I want to talk about and then just walking away helps. For some reason, like you said, taking a break seems to do the trick. Normally, if I try again the next day, I do better…but some reviews I can never seem to get right >.< And then go up like that cause I get sick of looking at it LOL
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue

    • Bec

      Writing in point form is how I plan all my reviews. It really helps it flow, but sometimes I can’t figure out how to connect the points. And if I come back later I lose some of the emotion. There are times when a break is exactly what I need though.

      Haha yeah, it gets to the point where you’re just done with it and want it out of your hands ASAP.

    • Bec

      It is a massive and frustrating problem a lot of bloggers experience! I hope you can find the motivation/inspiration for your reviews soon!

  8. Lola

    I don’t think I ever had a review slump, although I do sometimes have trouble writing reviews. I have a standard way how I write my reviews and which topics I talk about and it often help just to start somewhere and start writing, there’s always one part that comes easily and then once I start writing the whole review eventually comes out. It might not be the best review ever, but it works to get it written. Reviews written when I have to force the review are usually worse and shorter than my normal reviews.
    Lola recently posted…Review: Rice Cooker Revenge by SJ Pajonas

    • Bec

      Lucky! I hope you never have to experience it.

      A framework/template can be really useful when you’re struggling to figure out what to talk about. And it’s always that first part that’s hardest to write. Sometimes a start is all you need.

  9. Jess @My Reading Dress

    I’m with you Bec! I’m in a reviewing slump as well. Actually, just a slump in general. What with school taking up so much of my time, by the time I get around to doing anything, I just don’t have that motivation anymore which sucks. I’ve been trying to get out of it though. I PICKED UP A DAN BROWN BOOK PURELY FOR MY ENJOYMENT YAY! So hopefully that’ll pull me out! I hope you get through it! Fantastic topic, Bec! I can totally relate.
    Jess @My Reading Dress recently posted…Seeking Saturday’s Read #26: Technological Catastrophes, the Declaration of “Once A Fortnight” and Getting Re-Inspired

    • Bec

      Uni has also thrown me back into a big general slump. It sucks. Any free time I have needs to be spent on sleep!

      Picking up old favourites/books just for fun is usually what drags me out of slumps! I just haven’t had time to pick one of those up yet myself.

  10. ShootingStarsMag

    I get what you mean. I don’t really have SLUMPS per se- I mean, if I sat down and just wrote, I’d get it out, but sometimes I just don’t feel like writing out a review. I’d rather do something else…or I just don’t have much time to write reviews. I’m kind of in that position right now because I read a ton of books around the same time, so I’m quite behind. haha
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…The Littlest Bunny in Cincinnati: An Easter Adventure

    • Bec

      I’m in that position because of uni work! No time to read or write reviews, and when I do have time to write them I feel like I should be studying or something.

      I hope you catch up soon!

  11. Lara

    I think the way I’ve pushed through reviewing slumps in the past is to just not worry about it. If you can, just write other posts and if you do have to write reviews just write mini-reviews or don’t worry too much about being perfect…. write a brainstorm and then try to turn that into a review. Or instead of normal reviews try to mix it up a bit with GIFs or letters to characters or other stuff like that!

    Good luck!!
    Lara recently posted…The Haunting of Sunshine Girl, by Paige McKenzie || Based on a YouTube Channel!

    • Bec

      Not worrying about it is the best way to get through all potentially stressful things in life. Something I’m not great at unfortunately.

      My ransoms are how I mix up the reviews with gifs. I’m actually about to write one so here’s hoping it fixes this funk!

  12. Kezia

    Ugh, I’m currently in the middle of one. It’s true what you said — it’s easier to fix a reading slump than a reviewing slump. Sometimes I just don’t have much things to say about certain books and I don’t feel good about posting a review which only consists of a few sentences or one short paragraph. (Better to wait and compile those super short reviews into a post of mini reviews!) But yeah, I pretty much realize that my reviewing skills has worsen >< I don't even know how this happened… I just find it difficult to write reviews nowadays…
    Kezia recently posted…Barely hanging there…

    • Bec

      The meh books are the worst in slumps. Nothing to rave or rant about and get the words flowing.

      If I wrote short reviews I could do mini reviews, but we all know how much I love rambling about all books XD

      I hope you get your reviewing mojo back soon!

  13. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

    Oh yes, the dreaded review slump. I find if I don’t review a book straight away to get all my thoughts out, or at least in the same day, then I tend to have trouble recalling some of my thoughts and feelings, especially if I’ve delved into another book. Then it kind of reads in a boring way, which you can kind of tell. one thing I like to do is go back and edit my reviews when I’m in a better frame of mind.
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Release Day Review: Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

    • Bec

      I try to write reviews straight away too. Having the emotions fresh makes for better reviews, definitely. Uni makes it hard for me to do that though :(

      Going back and editing is something I really should do more!

  14. Nova @ Out of Time

    I read this one way to get out of a wriing slump in general and i think it’s brilliant. basically, you open a word document and start typing random gibberish. make it weird. and don’t make it coherent. basically, have fun with it. i tried it and once i finished, i had the push i needed to start writing for real after!
    Nova @ Out of Time recently posted…3xA MA: Francesca Zappia

  15. Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity

    EWWWW reviewing slumps are the worst, and I have been in one before. And I swear the reviews that i write during these slumps are the most hideous things in the world. Like you said: no spark. Even if I liked it, it’s just so completely boring and unemotional that the reader probably cannot even tell if I liked it or not D:

    I try and write reviews when the inspiration comes, or, like, a few hours before it’s due to go up (because pressure forces to actually get it done), but I like your epic soundtrack idea. It would be hard not to punch out something awesome with epically inspiring music in the background!

    And yes, reading a book you don’t have to review can be such a nice break! Too bad my last six and my next four books are review books and my schedule is so tight I cannot have a me book until I’ve read them *sobbing*
    Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity recently posted…Review: Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz

    • Bec

      It’s like writing school assignments on boring topics you don’t care about. They just drag on.

      Epic soundtracks are the only way I get motivated to study. If I am stressed though I sometimes have to switch to more chill/house instrumental music that won’t increase my anxiety.

      Uni is making my schedule tight too. I’ve read one break book for three review books or something. Normally I like to alternate.

    • Bec

      8tracks is the best place for music. Just search the epic tag. Alternatively search for epic playlists on youtube. They really get the blood pumping and make you write like a madman!

  16. Wattle

    Oooh I am totally in one of these right now, I just thought I was being lazy. But no. I’ve got a few books I need to review for tours, and I’m struggling through writing those. But reviewing other books just because? I cannot do it :(

    I’ve found in the past that hand writing them first occasionally helps; but the hard part is starting them of course :/ ugh! Just like an essay, really!
    Wattle recently posted…Book Review: Defiant by Mara Li, Jen Minkman and Lis Lucassen

    • Bec

      There’s being lazy, and there’s wanting to do something but having absolutely no motivation or drive. Sometimes having to write it for something like a book tour or because it’s an ARC is what throws me into a slump.

      I’ve never tried handwriting them. Though I did just start a notebook where I’m writing points and quotes as I read. Hopefully that can help a little.

  17. Eugenia @ Genie In A Book

    Epic soundtracks are something I use to help me concentrate when studying and blogging too at times. When it comes to reviewing slumps, sometimes it is good to take a step back and a break from the books you have to write about. Soon enough the spark will come back and reviewing does become easier and more enjoyable again! :)
    Eugenia @ Genie In A Book recently posted…The Book Cake Tag

    • Bec

      I can’t focus with out that music now!

      I think a break is what I need right now, but uni means there’s no time to take off!

  18. Romi

    I haven’t had a reviewing slump before, but I think I’ve come close. I was starting to struggle with the writing of reviews and would just stare at the screen and procrastinate intermittently like the gif, but then I started to write my reviews like I write all my work- by hand. I now can always write up my reviews. There’s just something for me in writing by hand. I cannot write a novel on the computer, I just fizzle out within a couple hundred words, and it seems the same applies for reviews. So now I’m happily able to write and then just transcribe all my reviews, which is nice. I am, unfortunately, in a reading slump right now, so BLARGH.
    Romi recently posted…The Boy Who Lost Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente.

    • Bec

      That’s great that handwriting works for you! It’d also give you a chance to edit them more as you transcribe them onto the computer.

      Boo reading slumps.

    • Bec

      School can throw you into one of these. It’s why I’m in a slump now :/ It’s quite depressing.

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