Don’t even think that I have it all figured out when it comes to staying on top of reviewing books. No, I struggle just as much as everyone else and sometimes even more. However! Being a perfectionist and just a person who easily gets nervous when too many things start to pile up, I had to learn some tricks that would pull the weight off my shoulders and help me to power through the huge TO-DO list.
In the first place: Kindle > Physical Books.
I know! We all prefer holding an actual physical book, flipping pages, turn it around, use different bookmarks and take tons of Instagram pictures featuring beautiful covers.
BUT! When it comes to reviewing books and especially ARCs (Advanced Readers Copies), I much more prefer my baby kindle. It’s so easy to highlight passages, to make notes as I read, without the need to get a pen, a notebook, or post-its, or just anything extra. Instead, I can just highlight a sentence and type “I’m crying and I cannot stop!” *Not that it’s useful, but hey! I’m an emotional person and only Kindle knows my deepest secrets.
Secondly, Almost everyone says: «You should write review as soon as you finish the book!» And I don’t have anything against that, it’s a great advice. BUT! Imagine this scenario:
You only finish the book by midnight, laying in bed, as you are almost falling asleep (Even though it was an amazing story and you loved it so much). Noone will make me get up from my warm and comfortable bed to go get my laptop, and I will definitely not have the brain power to type any coherent sentences in my Google Docs.
Next day you wake up early, get ready for work (As many of us do need to support ourselves by doing other mundane things, like having jobs and earning money, so we can buy more books and sometimes feed our bodies to stay awake so we can read all those books). After an 8 hour shift, you get back home, have dinner, do a bunch of errands, and then it’s late again. More often than not, I will just start reading a new book, to at least keep up with my reading goals.
How are we supposed to write our reviews then?!
This goes on and on, until it’s weekend. By then you’ve finished maybe another 2 books and don’t remember at all what the first book was about.
And that is when those Kindle notes and highlighted passages become very VERY useful. But sometimes, we still stare at the blank page for far too long, constantly repeating to ourselves: «I need to write this review! I need to write this review»
A few steps that help me get into it are:
- go through my Kindle notes and highlights, read them thoroughly;
- type in my Google Doc all the quotes that I find useful and that might help me describe the story later on;
- find the name of main characters, side characters and just all characters (because there are too many books and too many names to keep them all in my head) and type them all down;
- make a separate bullet list with my emotions and how I felt while reading this book;
- was there something that I didn’t like, that I found irritating – write it all down.
- sometimes, I prefer to do all of the above steps in a notebook instead of typing. It makes all of my senses work at the same time and sets me in the right mood.
Once this is done, all I have to do is to connect my thoughts together, select the most important parts and decide on the structure of my post and Voilá!
Another important part is ambiance and productivity. I’ve always been the most productive in the mornings. I have so much energy and motivation, it leaks out of my ears. During that time, I can climb the highest mountains and clean all the kitchen drawers.
But since reviews are actually hard to write, can’t even be compared to climbing Everest, sometimes even my morning motivation is not enough to make the words flow in the perfectly understandable way.
So what do I do next?
Noisy backgrounds that don’t really need my attention – lately I’ve been leaning towards different gaming streams on twitch. If the days are gloomy, I would usually lit up a couple of candles, but living in Portugal does have its perks as we have sun more often than not. And as all of you know, there is nothing better than sunshine and warm days to lift up your mood. Opening windows, going outside and finding a perfect café table to work at are also important steps in my review writing routine.
And finally, we often forget how much we love doing certain things, like reading, playing guitar, or writing reviews. And only when we push ourselves into it again, that we are reminded – Hey! I actually love writing! Why was I ever in a slump!
How do you deal with writing slumps? And piles and piles of unwritten reviews?
Let me know in the comments down below! And now, I will actually go and write those numerous reviews to check them off my TO-DO list and try to not get distracted by another post idea! 😀
With love and motivational wishes,