the awkward moment when you doubt everything you say | are my reviews worth following?

hey, it’s me again.

I don’t really want this post to come across as me being really needy and insecure (the title is exclusionary, of course). But, I am also well aware that the foundation of this post happens to be me being a little insecure. Nonetheless, I thought this post might be helpful to see if anyone feels the same and to talk about how we talk about books a bit.

In celebration of sharing insecurities in the blogging world I thought I would share Jayati’s post about blogging anxieties. It was a really relatable post and I recommend everyone checking it out.

For the regular folk of my blog, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I talk about books. As this is the internet (scary, I know) it means people can read what you put and possibly pick up a book because of you (scarier, I know).

In all seriousness, this is a good thing which frankly gives me a sense of accomplishment as a book blogger and even as a member of society. However, whenever someone says the words “I think I might check this book out now”, it can be momentarily followed by the feeling of existential dread. What if I have thrust upon them a book they are going to hate? What if they will hate me?

reality check: they won’t

How I still feel people will react to me after…

Image result for derry girls gif michelle james

This is only a fleeting feeling as I tend to move on to the other stresses of life quite quickly, but it got me thinking: are my reviews worth following?

Okay, I will repeat the question (1) to make it a title and (2) for the dramatic effect…

Are My Reviews* Worth Following?

*reviews in this sentence include general commentary on books, as it has been months since I actually wrote a review.

doubts I have about expression my opinion:

OPINIONS CHANGE OVER TIME

No one is under the expectation that people’s opinions are never going to change about a book. But, sometimes opinion can change within a week after reading. Whether you realised it wasn’t as memorable or ground-breaking as you thought at the time. Or it turns out you can’t stop thinking about it, so you had completely undersold it before.

I can feel reluctant in expressing thoughts at times because they may change a week later. It can certainly lead to mixed messages and having something on your blog that you no longer find true, which is frankly frustrating. Sorry, audience, you are on this rollercoaster of emotions with me and no, you didn’t ask for it. If I can’t rely on my feelings, why should anyone else?

Of course, you can’t forget about changes in opinion over many years. It is more of an expected reaction as tastes (and standards) change. It can be quite alarmingly though. You look back at some of your past opinions and cringe a bit. Why did I love it so much??? Why did I write that on a public platform??? Some of my ‘favourite’ things from the past. Just no, thank you. It can make me want to hide forever. But it is natural to change opinions. Just got to remember that through the regret.

Being a Derry Girl is a fucking state of mind!

Not to forget (ironically), when you start forgetting things about the book, but still pretend you know what you are talking about. Not a good formula. Just stop, thank you.


BEING A CRITICAL REVIEWER??? (NOT SO MUCH)

I sometimes feel like the general rule is the more critical the reviewer, the more valuable the thoughts. They can be harder to please, so when they approve something, it is a golden prize. Plus, I feel like negative reviews can be popular nowadays. The ‘spill the tea’ mindset. (I can be a sucker for it too.)

I don’t think this is a general rule for everything, but I notice it at times. I can safely say I am not a critical reviewer. I would consider myself a positive reviewer in many ways, and sometimes I think that means a worse reviewer. I’m too easy to please. I have nothing new or interesting to add to conversations about books.

I know this is just my doubts playing around in my head. There shouldn’t be a case of a better type of reviewer. After all, all honest opinions about books add to the conversation. No requirements are necessary. Nonetheless, it is a worry I feel when expressing my opinion. Like I’m not good enough, smart enough or entertaining enough to be posting.


THE STRUGGLE OF CONVEYING MY THOUGHTS

This point is not limited to just talking about books, but for the sake of this post, I am limiting it to just talking about books. I have wrote many sentences about books and some sentences haven’t certainly been more profound than others.

Tumblr: Image

You know that feeling when you’ve read the most wonderful book. You go to tell everyone about how this book made you feel something in your cold dark heart. But then nothing. You are staring at a blank page with no words coming to mind. Sometimes you manage a sentence like “This book was good” and then you are screaming at yourself to come up with more…

derry girls | | Derry, New memes, Laugh out loud

until you finally settle for “This was book was soOOo good” and call it a day. 

Sadly, this struggle isn’t limited to the inability to gush about your favourite books to a sufficient and well-explained level. oh no. There is more…

  1. When talking about multiple books, such as a wrap-up, you don’t have that much space to communicate all the different emotions you felt for one book. You have to generalise your thoughts into two sentences. It is hard and sometimes feels incomplete.
  2. When the book was missing that extra something, but you can’t pinpoint exactly what it was missing. Therefore you just continually say the evasive phrase “it needed something more”.
  3. Lacking the ability to make your reviews poetically beautiful and stand out. The way some reviewers write is just stunning. I’m truly in awe, and then I’m convinced I have never written anything good in my entire life. Comparison is a very deadly game. 

GENUINELY NOT KNOWING ENOUGH

Once again, I’m not under some illusion that people believe reviewers should know everything to do with the subjects of their books. Whilst it would be a super cool trick. It seems unrealistic for us all to be experts on everything from rocket science to Darius The Great’s reign to mathematic formulas. I mean history alone is so full of facts and I basically know next to nothing.

Binge Watch This: Derry Girls - That's Normal
dedicated to the English.

The reason why I am mentioning this is that it can cause you to think about a book differently and quite possibly incorrectly. For example, I may compliment a book on a rich historical atmosphere that examined the brutalities people had to endure in that time. Only to find out it was all poppycock and heinously inaccurate. The point is I wouldn’t realise because I straight up don’t know.

It brings in the thought of ‘reviewer responsibility’. In choosing to express an opinion in a public sphere, don’t we owe potential readers a response that accurately showcases the book’s integrity to the truth?

Woah, Woah, Woah… are we getting a bit too deep about screaming on the internet here? Yes and no.

Yes, because reviews are an expression of how a book made you feel more than anything.

No, because why would you want to be spreading misinformation? I’m not necessarily talking about little things. Like, it is unrealistic for this character to be alive given their injury because frankly, every fantasy book would be under fire here (although I am all for this changing). But, you should speak about massive inaccuracies. You may have to realise you aren’t the best to speak on these topics, and research is needed.


THE ROLE OF HYPE

Say I nail the review for my new favourite book. It is full of poetic sentences that somehow do the love I felt justice. Then there is the fact that… how can the book possibly live up to that review now?

You could say you can shoot yourself in the foot in a way. Because, even if they follow your opinion, through the review itself, you could have possibly made the book never reach the levels of love you described. Do you get what I’m trying to say?? It is easy to fall when you reach soaring heights. It is easy to disappoint when you say it’s perfect.

Maybe it is a slight case of overthinking on my part. But it also isn’t a totally pointless point. It’s why people say 3-star reviews are the most beneficial to read, as they should be the least biased, talking about good and bad points of the book equally.


THINKING DIFFERENT

With many people talking about books, it is only natural for there to be many different opinions. Some people may even have very out there reactions to books.

#CrazyStupidTV: Derry Girls – 2×03: ‘The Concert’ – Alex's ...

It is a good, nay… GREAT thing. It is something we are all a part of as we add our opinions into the mix. It may be an opinion in line with the hype or one against it. (dun, dun, dun) But, it is good to have an individual stance on things, but then again…

Pin on Movies/TV Shows

To have a different opinion, at least, to me makes me feel more pressure in articulating said opinion. I need to word it more profoundly and explain myself thoroughly. I think it links to genuinely feeling wrong for thinking something differently or something negative towards the book. People will think you are stupid, heartless or broken for feeling this way for the book. It’s one of those feelings where you know you shouldn’t feel that way, but you do anyway.

reality check: People don’t think you are stupid for feeling the way you do and you realise there is definitely someone out there that feels the same way you do.

This post wasn’t really supposed to have a purpose apart from sharing a few little insecurities. I know this is probably just me overthinking writing reviews on the internet.

It is easy to be doubtful when expressing your opinion and some reviews are easier to write than others. I don’t think there is a trick at getting comfortable with writing reviews. I think you improve over time as you get better at picking apart your opinion and being more content with putting it online.

I think it is always important to remember that reviews are not supposed to be a transfer of opinion from the writer to the reader. It is the sharing of opinions, and the readers get to choose what to do with them. You can trust us to give you our opinion, but don’t rely on us to tell you how you are going to feel. I know everyone knows this, but it is easy to forget and doubt my opinion’s worth. To feel like my reviews are stupid and missing the elusive ‘something’. At the end of the day, you only need reviews to be true. Just need to slow down on overthinking the rest.

So, to answer my original question… YES, my reviews are worth following.

Now you’ve witnessed all my insecurities about talking about books I hope we can still be friends.

derry girls — derrygirlsgifs: You will need… well, they ...

Thank you for reading, and please let me know if you have ever felt the same.

Do you ever worry about expressing your opinions on books? Do you like it when you have an ‘unpopular opinion’?

Do you find reviews easy or hard to write?


26 thoughts on “the awkward moment when you doubt everything you say | are my reviews worth following?

  1. This is such a relatable post. I often look back at my reviews and lament how they were written and what opinions I expressed. Some books I used to adore I now see as pretty awful, and I always question when writing reviews now if I’m going to feel the same or even similarly in a few months…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad your found this post relatable (I was hoping it was, for my own comfort 😅). Looking back at reviews can be quite alarming at times. Tastes can change a lot. I guess we can only write what is true to how we feel now and hope for the best, even if at times you feel like second guessing your opinion. Thank you for reading 🥰

      Liked by 1 person

  2. i really relate to so much of this!!
    i know that there are so many things on my blog that i no longer agree with, or are just no longer true for me. i started blogging when i was 12, over two years ago, and i have changed SO MUCH. i have an entire post on why i never wanted to use goodreads or any reading tracker. now, and track all my reading 😂
    i also get so worried with reviews that i haven’t said everything there is to say about a book i’ve read, or that something i say is going to be misleading to people about a book.
    and it really is the best feeling when someone says the picked up a book because of you!!
    you wrote this post so well, and i really relate to so much here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay, I’m so glad you could relate Aria. I’m not alone 😅😂😂
      Tastes can certainly change a lot, even more so though teen years I think. It is natural but it can make you feel like second guessing your opinion at times.
      Ahh.. I relate so much to your goodreads journey. I used to say I would never use it too 😂😂
      Yes, you feel so many different feelings whilst reading a book and you can’t write them all down at times. I worry so much about misleading people because you don’t know how your thoughts come across. But yes I love the feeling when someone picks up a book because of you!! 🥰
      Thank you so so so much. That means a lot to me. Thank you so much for reading and your lovely comment 💚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ahh I really feel the reviewing fear sometimes. Especially with that ‘changing opinions’ thing. There are a few reviews I wrote a couple years ago where I reread them and I’m just trying not to cringe because I absolutely do not feel the same way today? I hate that. I still love writing reviews, though, and I like most of the reviews I write!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The reviewing fear is real at times. I think I feel it more now because I haven’t written one in quite some time 😅 Reading old reviews can be a scary activity for sure 😂 I can’t believe some of my old opinions 😅 that’s great that you love writing them, that’s the main thing and I still like that it is a documentation of past reads and thoughts. 😊 Thank you for reading 🥰

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m not a critical reviewer either! I always feel like my reviews aren’t “professional” enough because I always review books based on my feelings and reactions to them, not so much on whether the book itself is worthy of merit. And I 100% relate to not being able to find the words – I give up on reviewing so many books because I just can’t put my thoughts into something comprehensible!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes yes yes, I never feel like my reviews are professional enough, especially when reading other reviews. I know you shouldn’t compare but it is easy to. I definitely follow my feelings rather than literacy analysis too, but I like reading reviews that are just people’s thoughts. I love hearing what they felt.
      Same!! Sometimes reviews really don’t come naturally. I just stare at the blank page 🙈 it is so nice to know you feel the same way. Thank you so much for reading 🥰

      Like

  5. I’ve felt the same way about my own reviews, too! Especially with the changing opinions part, because you can walk away for one year and then come back feeling completely different about the book than before. You’re definitely not alone in this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you could relate to how I feel about reviews and it is nice to know I’m not alone as well. Opinions really do change over time and can make you look at your reviews differently. Thank you for reading 🥰

      Liked by 1 person

  6. LOVED THIS POST. From the Derry Girls gifs (one of my all-time fave shows!) to the relatable content itself. As someone who struggles to articulate what I think of books (amazing, incredible and so so good are common words in my review glossary), I always feel like my reviews just aren’t worth writing. I also change my mind all the time, especially as I tend to review purely based on enjoyment rather than critically. So whenever I see a post that points out writing flaws or other more critical points it makes me rethink my ratings! It’s a difficult one but at the end of the day opinions are subject to change and that doesn’t make current thoughts any less worthy of a blog post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh.. Thank you so much ❤️ yes, Derry Girls is great, I love James and Clare so much and Sister Michael makes me laugh a lot 😂!!
      I really struggle with writing about books at times, I definitely like to use the word amazing a lot too 😅 it can make me feel insecure for sure. But your reviews are 100% worth writing!! I love your reviews 🥰
      I so relate to enjoying a book then seeing reviews that point out its flaws. It can make you rethink certain things I agree. You are so right though, you can only write you current thoughts down and change is natural. I couldn’t have worded it better!!
      Thank you so much for reading and commenting 💚

      Like

  7. I feel you, often I also worry about my review writing, especially as everyone else always seems so eloquent! I’m also not a super critical reader and I used to stress over having such a high average rating – but now I’m happy that I love so many books ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can definitely feel insecure about my reviews, it is nice to know I’m not alone. I do really like your reviews though 🥰
      I know, I always admire people’s reviews and it leads to me doubting my own.
      You are so right, if you have positive reviews it isn’t because you are searching for good things and ignoring the bad, you are just enjoying your books which is a great thing– dream scernaio in fact. I think in your head it can feel like you are missing something I guess but that isn’t the case.
      Thank you for reading 🥰

      Liked by 1 person

  8. sophie, i am absolutely OBSESSED with this post! it’s so well-written and the use of derry girls’ gifs throughout the whole thing was *chef’s kiss*.

    i think the part i related to the most was the “so many thoughts, so little time”. i feel the need to write in depth reviews for more and more books i read, but i never know exactly where to do that. i have been putting them on goodreads now, even though very few people see them, but it’s more for myself than for others at this point, because i feel like writing them in a wrap-up would be too much but a separate review post would also be too little.

    i absolutely agree with the conclusion you came down to! i think truthful and honest reviews are infinitely more important than any other aspect. even if you think you may not be adding anything to the conversation, repetition also helps people remembering that book & why everyone loves it!

    i do worry the most when i write a negative/mediocre review for a book by a marginalized author. i really don’t want to discourage people from picking it up, but i also don’t want to be dishonest and lie about how i feel. in those cases, i try to highlight that own-voices reviews should be taken into consideration much more than my own!

    once again, fantastic post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you soooooo much Lais 🥺🥰🥰 that means a lot, truly, and I’m glad you liked the gifs. I had just watched derry girls when I wrote this post and I was a bit obsessed 😂

      Yeah everytime I go to talk about a book, I just end up writing loads more than I originally thought I would 😅 goodreads can be a great place for keep track of thoughts– you can dump it all there. I think it is nice to do it for yourself. I’ve stopped doing it recently but I kinda miss it, if I’m thinking of a book I read in the past few months I always go to look at my written thoughts until I remember I didn’t do it.

      Truthful reviews are definitely the most valuable to readers and to ourselves as well. That’s a really good point, you are adding through repetition by collectively agreeing and supporting a point. Plus you can have a really individual way of wording it that could change someone’s mind even if the point itself is similar to others.

      Again, a really good point. Even when you didn’t love a book, you may still want to express how people should still check it out and someone’s else thoughts may help with that. Like you say for books by marganilized authors are really important and it highlights how ownvoices reviews are such a valuable part of the book community. I have linked to them in reviews too as like you say they should be considered more than my opinion.

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment and sharing all your thoughts, I loved them. 🥰🥰

      Like

  9. Oh my gosh I honestly need to THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS POST!!!! this is so relatable and voices so many of the worries I’ve been feeling since so long, and stuff I’ve been scared about. ‘changing opinions’ is literally the scariest, and also lying about loving a book just because everyone else loves it too. I’ve lied about liking books that I hated so many times, because, as you put it, “it makes me feel more pressure in articulating said opinion.” I just keep feeling like it’s better to lie than have to be alone in my own opinion, you know? (ugh, sorry if I sound weird and don’t exactly make sense here) but lately I’ve been feeling guilty about that too, because isn’t blogging supposed to be a way to share your opinions without being afraid? And I feel terrible that my reviews aren’t genuine, like what’s the use of spending time writing them if they aren’t even conveying my real thoughts and they aren’t making me happy? And sometimes, it isn’t even the hype that makes me say I loved a particular book when I didn’t, sometimes it’s my own expectations that I had before reading it. It all just feels so scary. I look at other peoples reviews, and they all are just so flawless and perfect and then I look at mine, and I feel ‘what am I even doing?’

    Ahh, I’ve ranted on too much, I’m so sorry. But I loved this post so, so much! All your opinions are so well worded And really, THANK YOU FOR WRITING IT!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. aww… thank you so much for your comment!! I’m so glad you could relate to this post. It was the main reason I wanted to write it!!
      Changing opinions can be so drastic over time, it is kind of weird really. It can certainly make you doubt yourself at times!! I’ve definitely withheld my true opinions surrounding popular books, there is a lot of pressure in expressing opinions and you feel like you are going to disappoint people with your opinion…. which is a weird feeling and I know most people won’t feel that way at all.
      It does make sense, I hate being alone in my opinion. It makes me doubt everything and I can feel uncomfortable saying it. At the start of my blogging journey I definitely wasn’t always truthful with my thoughts. It has been something I have grown into and now I feel a lot more confident expressing my opinion. I still have a lot of doubts at times though. It is weird as you feel uncomfortable saying how your truly feel but also uncomfortable lying. Which is really hard. For me it is something I got used to over time and I hope you find it easier to. I know people’e encouragement and just seeing people express their opinion helped me. I totally get the exceptation thing too, you were convinced you were going to love it going in and you aren’t ready to accept that it disappointed you so you keep saying I loved it just because you want it to be true in a way– you don’t want to go back on yourself.
      The comparison is something I feel 100% too and when I’ve spoken to people about it, they all feel the same so I think we just see the best in everyone else and the worse in our own. Which is really sad but if we all feel this way, it should mean that our reviews are actually good to everyone else.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and I hope you are able to feel more comfortable in your reviews soon. Aw.. need to apologise at all, I loved reading your comment SO much and honestly sooo comforting to know people feel the same way. Thank you so much for reading and this comment, just thank you !! 💕

      Liked by 1 person

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