I’ve been blogging for a while now, well over four-and-a-half years, it’ll be five years at the beginning of March 2021 and even after all this time I still doubt my reviews. I have to admit that, in real life, I’m not the most confident person that ever walked this earth, I’m more the opposite and doubt myself over everything. Sometimes warranted, other times not, women are supposed to like confident guys, that’s not me, I’m more ‘yeah, I’m crap’ rather than thinking myself a god amongst men. Likewise, I don’t think myself a god amongst bloggers/reviewers either, again, I place myself firmly in the ‘yeah, I’m crap’ category and that lack of confidence I suffer in real-life bleeds over into my blogging too.
With reviewing it’s not even comparing myself to others, I don’t need to put a different review of the same book by another blogger side by side with my own to doubt myself, I do that all alone. It doesn’t matter if 100 people tell me that my review is great I won’t be able to see it, as, sadly, through the doubt, I weigh the balance myself, I come up lacking and I won’t believe what I’m being told. This is true for me in everything in life, I’m told that I’m a decent person and all the other platitudes that people tell you and I don’t believe them as I can’t see it. When I am lost in the shadows it is hard to see the light mired in the darkness of my own self-doubt.
I have a rather varied style of reviewing and I don’t really review in a set way. Some of my reviews are shorter, others far longer, some more in-depth, others not so much, some contain weird and poetic turns of phrase, others are written in a more standard way, others are slightly more formal, well, formal for me and then yet, others are more about feelings. I’d possibly throw in some nonsense and waffle into the review mix too. 😉 However, all are trying to find the words that do the book justice, that express my thoughts and that show how much I loved the book (unless it sucked, then it is trying to be polite in saying that it sucked only in a far more eloquent way).
On rare occasions, I do actually write a review that I’m really pleased with. Yes, it does happen and when it does the review will inevitably tank and no-one will read it. Yes, stats aren’t important, we all know that and I have stopped looking at mine as it leads down a rabbit hole and it is never good. However, I will also admit that things like comments, shares, likes, views, etc which are all little things that don’t really matter, are at the same time, things that can boost and lift you up over a review that you are pleased with or have been doubting. Let’s not forget to mention knowing that someone has added a book to their TBR list or bought a book based on your review, that is a tremendous feeling. For me, the worst thing is that when I think that I’ve written a brilliant review and then when it fails, that nagging doubt that I had managed to avoid and kick to the curb during the writing process comes back with a vengeance. With its return, all I see is that no-one is reading the review, liking it or commenting on it and that hits home that the review wasn’t, as I had originally thought ‘brilliant’, but that I’m right when I doubt the quality of my reviews and that they are, in fact, garbage.
There’s also the doubt that, had the review been posted on another blog, one that is popular and that has a far larger following then it would have done well and it is simply me and my small blog that is the problem, not the review itself and again, that is another rabbit hole to fall down. It is a shame that many wonderful reviews fly under the radar simply because they are written by a small blogger rather than one of the large blogs/websites as many of the small blogs put out reviews that are just as good as those on the far bigger blogs and they are simply overlooked. That makes those of us who are small bloggers feel undervalued and you have to ask that if people only care about reviews that appear on the established and/or big blogs/websites then what is the point in reviewing? 😦
Some will say that I shouldn’t compare myself to others and that is true, totally true. However, as I have written above I doubt myself and my reviews even when I don’t compare myself to others and I write for myself. Sure, I’d love 1,000’s of views per review, who wouldn’t? But, what I’d really love is the peace of mind that being pleased with my review brings and mostly, I don’t get that. Those of you who know what I’m talking about know that it’s not a little voice in the back of your head telling you that ‘you are not as good as Mr Blogging Big balls/Mrs Blogging Big Jugs and his/her amazing reviews’. Full disclosure as far as I’m aware there aren’t actually blogs called either Mr Blogging Big Balls or Mrs Blogging Big Jugs out there, if there are, I apologise. I perhaps should have Googled the names, but I was scared what results would show up especially with Big Balls/Big Jugs in the name. 😉 No, it is a little voice in the back of your head that tells you that YOU are not good enough, not that you aren’t as good as someone else, simply YOU are not good enough. 😦
As bloggers/reviewers/book pimps we all review differently, if we all had exactly the same views and wrote exactly the same style of reviews then the community would be boring as hell, yawn. Just imagine if we did all have the same views, there was no drama and we all got on, all of the time. The horror, the absolute tentacle-probing places it shouldn’t horror! 😉 The differences in our opinions, what we think about books and how we write our reviews is all part of what makes for a diverse, eclectic, inclusive and varied community.
We all put time, effort, heart and soul into our reviews and many many of us doubt our reviews, every time we post it is a burden that we carry. As crazy as it sounds to those of us who doubt our reviews there are actually those out there who don’t doubt themselves. I would ask you to teach me your ways and I wish that I was one of you. Sadly, I’m not and it is highly unlikely that I ever will be. 😦
I think that we are all our own worst critic and that we are all our own worst enemy too when it comes to reviewing (and blogging). At times, we should give ourselves a break and not be so hard on ourselves as we do our best and that is all that anyone can ask from us when we write a review that WE. DO. OUR. BEST.