My Musings

Reviewing and self-doubt.

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.

51 thoughts on “Reviewing and self-doubt.

  1. Your comment about everyone doing their own thing always brings me back to a song by a Scottish band talking about their accent and the quote “who needs the world to talk the same anyway”.

    I think in blogs it’s the same way, it’s your voice and diversity of thought is important.

    Reading this I understand where you’re coming from because I’m a bit like that. I think my perspective changed because I decided to take the enjoyment out of writing rather than the blog being up.

    I got a huge response to Soul Music which is book 15 in a series that is well know but it’s not a main read for people. And I couldn’t comprehend it. But it has a beautiful cover and to me it can come down to the thumbnail you use. It must drive anyone insane to try and work out and predict things because it does me and I work with numbers for a living.

    Just keep doing it for you and get out of it what you want to rather than everyone else.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I definitely agree about diversity of thought and it being your voice. It’s your blog, your voice and there’s no need to try and change it, as long as you are happy with your blogging voice and it reflects who you are then that’s all that matters.👍📚

      Ha, yeah, you sure can’t predict anything blogging related, so many variables and then there are things that you never even considered too thrown in the mix, drive you crazy trying.😂

      I hadn’t thought about the thumbnail, but yeah, I can see what you mean and you are right.

      Yeah, the last sentence in your comment is definitely the right way to look at blogging.👍

      Liked by 3 people

  2. You’re not alone with these feelings Drew!! I’ve only been blogging for 2 1/2 years and doubt all my posts. Especially review ones!! But I believe if you love doing it keep going. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Also: I get where you’re coming from, I feel insecure about myself and most things I do too, although I sometimes manage to hide that from others 😄 But I hate people who think themselves the God(ess) of anything, that’s nothing to aspire to 😂

      Liked by 3 people

  3. As I grew older, I lost confidence, and I think it is a good thing (in a sense). I think doubting oneself leads to improving, to growing. I much prefer people that are always double-checking themselves than those who think they are the last perfect human on Earth 😉. I love your blog and your reviews! 💕

    Liked by 3 people

  4. You are not alone with this feeling Drew, but I do think you absolutely nailed it with that final paragraph! I think as I get older I doubt myself, but I also think that is part of growing and learning and appreciating views and opinions of others. Obviously, I don’t agree with everyone’s opinion, but it does give a different perspective. I do think you do a great job with your reviews, they are detailed and the love you have for a book certainly comes across in the review. Great post Drew xx

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Well, everything you’ve written here really resonated with me (and also seriously made me laugh lol Mr. Big Balls/Big Jugs)! But we really are our own worst enemies and self-doubt is the worst life companion. It’s so hard to shake (sometimes, a lot of times) but I think what you said is true, we all try our best and that’s really all we can do. Plus, if we love it then we should keep doing it and that love for what we do is what will make our posts even better! Or at least that’s what I like to believe 🙂 Your posts are awesome and it’s amazing you’ve been blogging for so long too. That’s definite goals!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you.👍📚 It is amazing, it amazes me that I’ve been blogging this long too.😂 Lol, I like to add a little humour into my posts, I thought those blog names were amusing.😂

      Yeah, sadly it is very hard to shake and often it comes creeping back in unannounced too, sucks, it really does.😢 We are definitely our own worst enemies and yeah, we keep doing it because we live it.👍📚

      Like

  6. I appreciate your honest. Sometimes I attribute my self doubt to an internal consistency checker, instead of a weighty-thing. It is healthy to have doubts and question yourself, but we must interpret that doubt fairly, which is not easy! Again, I commend your genuinity and honesty here. Cheers. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post, buddy! You hit the nail on the head for so many of us.

    I’m in the very same boat as yourself. I lack confidence in most things I do and I’m always negative when it comes to myself. The same as you this effects my real life and my blog.

    Keep with it you are doing a fantastic job. It’s true wether you see it or not 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Fantastic post, Drew. I can relate a lot to having self-doubt with my reviews (and other blog posts, for that matter), and being my own biggest critic. I love the honesty you write with here, and I can attest that you are an excellent blogger and reviewer 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. You know I’m a great big blogging mess, and I completely relate to this. I have major imposter syndrome (in most aspects of my life 😆) . I’m trying to be kinder to myself, but it’s a struggle. We’re in the same boat, I think.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I think many of us feel the same. What is a bug blog anyway? Having 50,000 followers on Twitter means nothing when most of them are bots and things scroll by so quickly they are barely seen. My blog traffic has been static for years. Only time is goes up is if I write more posts. And hardly anyone reads my reviews as they are long and people can’t be bothered. But it’s what I felt about a book so it’s what I wrote. I still suffer the self doubt and know I’ll never match the big balls/jugs folk but that’s okay.

    You know how I combat it? I write the review, I schedule it, I let WordPress donita thing. If I get an acknowledgment or share by a reader or Blogger or author on Twitter that is awesome but if not, I’ll have another post along tomorrow. But not weekends if I can help it. I need some just me time after all. Just keep doing you. That is absolutely enough.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m not too sure what a big blog is, those sorts of numbers seem to change depending on who you ask.😂 I see it more in the fantasy community of blogs than the general community, that’s where I come from when I mention big blogs as it often seems there are a few fantasy blogs that are popular and well respected and then there are all the little guys and girls who readers don’t seem to acknowledge the reviews from unless they come from a blog they’ve heard of.

      My blog traffic has tanked this year, but I’ve posted less, read less too and it is down to the pandemic and I don’t check my stats anymore, it’s not important, took me a while to realise that and while I’d love a review to fly, if it does cool, it it doesn’t that’s cool too.

      Yeah, I get the people can’t be bothered bit! I understand it, but it sucks. Some of my reviews are shorter though that is still around 800 words and others longer. My Stephen King review was 2,500 words, my thoughts and what I wanted to write, but damn, knowing people can’t be bothered to read long reviews can be disheartening. Someone posted about it on twitter the other day and the most popular response was a review in a tweet is what people like to read!😂

      We all need ‘me’ time and I don’t do weekends either only very rarely and you are right doing you is enough, some of us just lose sight of that at times and need reminding/to remember it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A review in a tweet sounds about right in our insta world. Give me the facts in 300 characters or less. I don’t have more time. I have celebrities to stalk lol

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I so get this! The Husband and I both wanted to write some posts/reviews today… but didn’t because, as he said: ‘it’s not like anyone will read it’. I’ve even given up on writing reviews for not-Netgalley books (though blogging in general doesn’t give me much joy anymore which is more the problem than writing reviews specifically).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think many of us have fallen out of love with blogging at the moment. I think it’s down to the Coronavirus pandemic, for some they are able to thrive and find escape in blogging, but for many of us the situation and all that comes with it has really killed the enjoyment that we once had.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I get this too. My motivation has been up and down with blogging. Even with reading! I am slowly taking my time with it.

    As for making a best post ever, I have always felt like it’s not good enough. Recently I have thought about this and then thought do the best you can. Try!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. It’s always nice to be liked and recognized, and our brains are wired that way to feel better when others see us and appreciate us. So I get what you’re saying, totally. But I also think that we should try and do stuff just for ourselves, and not care constantly about the recognition. It will come, or it won’t, but we should feel happy with ourselves and what we achieved. For what is worth, I enjoy reading your reviews and the reason I’m not commenting much is usually because I haven’t read the book in question 🙂

    Btw, I think self-doubt in limited amounts is important and beneficial for all of us – it lets us improve 😀 Certain politicians have not a shred of it and look where it got them 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I definitely agree, I’d rather be happy with myself than receive recognition, I just struggle with the being happy with myself bit.😂

      Ah, certain politicians, that deranged orange madman though I think quite a lot of them seem to lack any type of self doubt, leadership skills too.😂

      I get what you are saying though, in small amounts it is beneficial, I just wish mine was a smaller amount than it is.

      Like

  14. I feel you on this man. I think I compared myself to others and was more doubtful of myself when I was just starting out. The more I blogged the more confident I got. These days I don’t do it as much (the comparison and doubts), but they do pop up at times, usually when I least expect it. Like it’s saying Gotcha! I agree that we gotta go easy on ourselves. What really helps me is to blog for myself. Write in a way I like and write about what I want to write about. It makes it all pleasing to me and keeps this hobby fun so I don’t stress myself too much.
    But for real though, I like your posts and think you do a great job with them. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you.👍📚

      Yeah, writing for yourself is definitely the way to go, totally agree with that, in a way that is right for you and about what you want to too. I think that’s why I wrote this, it’d been on my mind and it was better to write out my thoughts.

      Totally gotta keep the fun, I lose it at times, I think many do, but we all blog because we find it fun.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Googled them. Sadly neither Mrbloggingbigballs nor Msbloggingbigjugs are domain names. So, if you want to take them… 😉 I mean, yours is better than mine, but still—we can always upgrade.

    I just want to point out that my highest viewed review so far was just me summing up the book and then whining about it for several paragraphs, so… 😂 but I hate reading my own reviews. Like reading yours, though. Hope that counts for something 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  16. So, is 38 comments enough to let you know you write amazing reviews? 😉 Well, my comment makes it 39. 😉

    This was a deep piece, Drew. I can relate. I love your blog and your writing. I might be late in liking and commenting (especially with 4hrs commute now) but I find your blog one of the best.

    I hope my opinion makes a dent in your sea of self-doubt.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I don’t move in the fantasy blogging world so I don’t know what constitutes a ‘big’ blog. However, whatever genre we operate in, there will always be bigger blogs. I echo most of what has been said. Be happy doing what you’re doing and remember why you started blogging. Most of us probably fall into the small blogger category so comparing the number of likes or followers is a dangerous thing. I honestly don’t look at how many followers someone has or their stats because we’re all different. We write different things, we appeal to different people and we write/post what we want. Don’t doubt yourself, just do what you do because you enjoy it. If it’s shared or liked treat that as a bonus not the the reason for doing it in the first place.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I really feel you on this. Several times, especially this year, I’ve started wondering what’s the point. I don’t review the latest books, I don’t seem to get to the “popular” ones until a couple of years later; as a blogger, I don’t seem to grow or have increased engagement despite the work that I put in. Trying to remind myself that I do it because I love it can be hard given everything else that goes into blogging.

    I can say this though: I always enjoy your reviews. I love that you don’t have a standard approach, and I can’t guess that will be waiting when coming to read your reviews. I love your honesty, and your passion always shines through, even on the shorter reviews. I really enjoy your blog, and hope you still get pleasure out of doing it, despite the doubts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I totally agree, we all do it because we love it, but as you say, it is hard when you factor in everything else that goes into a blog too and sometimes you lose sight of that love and enjoyment.

      I can’t say that I’ve put much effort into my blog this year to try and make it grow and increase engagement, I’ve struggled with everything that has been going on and class it as a win that I still have a blog. I get you though, in previous years I’ve put in time, effort, etc and, I don’t know, it’s a tricky one, some people put in a lot of effort and grow, others put in just as much effort and don’t grow, others put in no effort and do better than everyone else. It’s hard to know what will happen and you can’t predict it. Everyone says that growth, stats, etc aren’t important, true, but it is nice to see growth and to know that the time and effort that you put in is being rewarded.

      Thank you, no, I don’t have a standard approach to my reviews, not sure that anything is standard on my blog.😂

      I do get pleasure out of it, even with the doubts, just be nice every once in a while if the doubts could take a break and let me knock out a review, post it and think ‘yeah, I’m pleased with that’.

      Like

  19. I was really interested to read this article as I’ve been thinking along similar lines myself, with a view to writing an article about the things I’ve learned in my first year of book blogging. The thing that really struck me is your observation about how varied your reviews are in tone, length, flow etc. I’ve felt the same recently, and I’m convinced mine are heavily influenced by the mood a book inspires in me. The Lamplighters was a really atmospheric book that totally enveloped me, for example, and I can see lingering elements of this in the review I wrote.
    Keep up the good work with your reviews. I really enjoy reading what you write. The fact you tie yourself in knots crafting your reviews is a marker of how much you care. To me, that’s what makes the difference between a good blogger and a great one x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My reviews are influenced by my mood as well as the book, I think.😂 I go in with the thought of writing a couple of hundred words, nice and easy, job done, but then I end up rocking over a thousand. Long books, short review, short books, long review. Definitely no rhyme or reason to my reviewing, granted I’ve only written two this year.😂 I’d be interested to read your article if you write one, always cool to see ‘what I’ve learnt’ from blogging posts.

      I’d like to think that we all care about the reviews that we write, but if we didn’t and churned out any old crap it’d be so much easier.😂 Even if you doubt what you write though, like me, it’s still good to know that you did your best as a great book deserves a great review.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If I get my act together, the what I learned blog will come out in the next day or so.
        I’ve not come across any “don’t give a shit” bloggers myself (yet) but I know if one who’s giving book bloggers a bad name.

        Liked by 1 person

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