SOS from a Bloggin' Noob: How Do Y'all Write So Much?

February 05, 2015

As a fairly new Kindle owner, I'm just starting to learn the ins and outs of using Overdrive to get e-books from my public library and the library of the university I work in. Between the two, I've gone a bit check-out happy, and I'm reading a lot right now. Maybe too much? Is there such a thing? Whatever.

Reading so much is awesome! The less awesome thing is that I'm doing very little posting—or, perhaps more accurately, very little review-writing. I wouldn't call myself "worried" about it yet... I've got a tiny list of books I've read but have yet to sit down and review. However, I foresee that changing very soon.

If I want to keep this blog going, I need balance, which means I need advice. Who better to ask about maintaining your writing mojo than fellow book bloggers?

I saw a few posts going around during Bloggiesta about how to write more creative reviews, or how to write engaging non-review content, but I'm still at a bit of a loss for how you fabulous people manage to generate so many reviews in general.

If you've got any advice for me on any of the below, please let me know! I'd love to hear from you.

How do you balance your reading time with your writing/reviewing time?

How many reviews do you aim to post per week? How does this compare to your books read per week?

Do you strive to review quickly, or do you let the read-but-unreviewed books pile up?

How do you push yourself to write (reviews or other content) when you're feeling less than inspired?

Keeping it short today, seeing as the writer's block is fierce. Happy almost Friday, everybody!

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  1. Okay. Long comment, coming from someone who has been reviewing for almost seven years and who has changed drastically in that time. Take this for what it's worth, heh. I review very differently now vs when I first started blogging in 2008. Back then, when I'd started a group blog, I would finish a book and immediately write/post a review. It was a little closed group of mostly family and friends, and that's how we all did it. Sometimes two or three of us would post a review within an hour. We posted all times of the day. It didn't matter - we never followed any pattern, because we were each others' readers and never worried about audience. Fast forward a year, and I broke away to create the original Zen Leaf. By then, I was reading a TON, like 15 books per month. I only put my reviews up in the morning, and only one a day, but I still drafted them the moment I finished reading. Then a year later, I got to where I was reading TOO MANY BOOKS, like 25 per month. I liked having only 5-6 days of posts, one of them a Sunday Salon, and usually another one not reviewish, which leaves a max of 4 reviews per week. And I had too many books to review. And I didn't have a lot to say about a lot of them. So I started writing reviews only for the books that I had a lot to say about. I'd save the rest up and post a one-post set of mini-reviews (one paragraph) for all the rest. That continued up until about mid-2011, when I decided to quit reviewing books altogether. Except while I deleted TZL, I never managed to actually quit reviewing books. But for a few years, I only reviewed some, and there was no rhyme or reason to it. I have books I really love that I never managed to write reviews for! Then in early 2013, I moved all my reviews, big and small, to a private blog, and deleted all public record of any of my blogging. I hadn't been happy with blogging since about mid-2010. I'd gotten overwhelmed by all the work, and reading too fast/too much, and the politics of blogging. Sure, I had a lot of readers and was a fairly well-known blog, but I wasn't happy anymore. I discovered that I like friends, not followers. I liked the intimate atmosphere of my group blog and the early days of TZL. So I went private, and after that, I went mostly back to reviewing the way I did in 2008. The moment I'd finish a book, I'd review and post, and it didn't matter when or how often, because I was the only one reading. If I couldn't write a review right away, I'd draft the post right away and save it, so it would record - and eventually post - on the day I finished the book. There was no pre-drafting and saving and scheduling. When a post was done, it was published, and I linked it up to all my directories. Clean and simple. I never let more than a few days pass without reviewing, and never let drafts stack up. After 18 months of this, in August 2014, I re-opened TZL. It was a new version of the blog, but I slowly moved my entire backlog of 700+ reviews from the private to the public. (I still have the private one, notably, and keep it updated, in case I ever decide to disappear again.) I've tried to stick to the same principles of simplicity ever since. I read slowly, usually about 3-5 books per month. I draft immediately when I'm done, and review asap, even if the reviews themselves don't post right away on the public blog. I don't believe I've ever put up more than 4 posts in a week, and a max of two reviews. I just...try to keep it simple. I like that better. I may not have the same traffic I used to, but I have the opportunity to meet fellow bloggers in a much more intimate way. I have time to come look at the blogs of people who find my blog, and to explore and find blogs before they ever find mine as well. I missed that so much in the 2010/2011 days.

    So anyway, point of the long comment is that there's no right way, and it all depends on your time, your goals, your creative process, etc. :)

    1. Wow, moving 700+ reviews sound like an enormous project, but I'm so glad you're blogging again! :)

  2. I think this is something we all come up against fairly quickly as bloggers, so you're not alone! One thing I definitely don't do (though I know some will say otherwise) is try to review every book I's just not possible for me. With that weight lifted, I think it's a little easier to pick out reviews that call to you, either because you loved them or had some strong opinion about them.

    I usually do one or two reviews a week, depending on how much I have lined up, and the rest of the week I write about what I'm reading or other bookish content. As for writing when I'm feeling less than inspired, I try to keep a little log of drafted post ideas/half-posts that I started when I WAS inspired for when the well runs dry.

    With that being said, I don't think you need to feel like there's a certain number of times you have to do things to get it "right". We all go through ups and downs and dry spells and then things pick back up - it works itself out!

  3. You'll find that my answer is typical me ~ I do what I wanna do. I'm not like these bloggers out there who give themselves WAY too much credit with the "OMG I haven't posted 60 posts this month, what am I going to do?!". No one should give themselves that much credit that they have 1k viewers who are going "OMG why hasn't she/he posted yet?!"

    I created my blog for one purpose ~ to share my monthly reading logs as a swap on Swap-Bot. It has, since, grown some since I discovered read-a-thons and following others, but still my blog is mainly for me. I don't conform to any kind of set structure, I don't feel like I have to review everything I read and the only thing that I do make sure I'm always doing is posing the reviews of any NetGalley/author requested review books. Other than that, my blog is completely at my whims.

    What I've discovered is that I don't read a lot of the same books that everyone else is, even if they are YA or whatever. I just find certain gems. You definitely don't read the norm either, with your older and thought provoking reads. So, I like to write reviews, when I do write them on my own, about books I'm not seeing 100 times in the book blogging world. By doing that maybe, just maybe, I'll introduce someone to something new.

    I'd rather read than review. So, I'll read 20-30 books a month and sometimes only my requested books or NetGalley books get reviewed, sometimes others that stand out to me. Sometimes, none at all. Your blog is for you, so you do what feels right and don't worry about what others are doing! :)

  4. God bless this post and god bless all these really thoughtful comments. Holy shit, I struggle with this always and I have no answers for you. But I'm glad you got other people to weigh in!!

  5. Thank you so much for all the thoughtful comments, you guys! Above all, it was a great reminder that my blog is ultimately for me and there's no one "right way" to do this. Looking forward to moving ahead with this mentality. :)

  6. I usually try to review books pretty quickly after finishing them, but some just fall through the cracks and don't get reviewed, which is fine too. When I don't have time to read as much because of classes or work (and then have nothing to review) I try to do lists or other easy to put together posts about things that I've been thinking about, just to have something up, even if it's not a review! This way I don't fall into a rut trying to force books to be read or reviews to be posted.