Slumped and Stumped AKA Where have you been, Dianne?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

If anyone even noticed, Oops! I Read A Book Again has been a pretty quiet blog for months now. Sure, I still posted blog tour invites and the random spotlights (which were supposed to be reviews for tours but I wasn't able to post because I either couldn't bring myself to read the book or I didn't like the book). I posted my book hauls and just recently, tried to catch up with my book spine poems. The main thing that I myself am disappointed with is that I wasn't able to finish posting for my OWN blog event, which I've been planning for too long now, #SoClosetoYouWeek. I'm so sorry, Rachel. Really sorry.

So what really happened, huh?

Let me give you a tally of the reviews I posted for 2014 here in the blog.

January: 4 (Forgivable, since I was posting almost everyday for #CelebratingDebutantes2013.)
February: 9 (Woo!)
March: 5 (Yay!)
April: 3 (Also known as the month of the reviewing slump.)
May: 6 (Trying to get back in good graces.)
June: 2 (The reading and reviewing slump.)
July: 2 (The reading, reviewing and blogging slump. I just about gave up at this point.)
August: 0 (We're still counting, right?)

Compare that to the number of books I read...

January: 11
February: 10
March: 8
April: 8
May: 11
June: 5
July: 5
August: 5

Wow, right? I should get my blogger creds removed. April started it all. Those three reviews I have for April? I think I wrote them in May and just published it for April to cover up my lack of reviews. Seriously. I only posted one review then (for The Summer I Wasn't Me), truth be told. And I remember finding it very hard to write that review because I just can't write one. The other two reviews were for The Geography of You and Me and The Hunt, both books I loved but I just couldn't review them.

Then came May. I wrote reviews for books I loved: Scan, There Will Come A Time, All Lined Up, Girl Lost, The Paradox of Vertical Flight and Rebel. This should be good but I wasn't able to post a review for Free to Fall (NORTH!!!), More Than Music and We Were Liars, all books I loved. Heck, I still haven't posted a review for PLUS ONE, which I love more than my Kindle, and that's just sad.

Then, June and July. It's been a blur, actually. Sab, Charlie and I suddenly, at the same time, hated that our reviews all sound the same. That our reviews are so impersonal and trying to be objective. YES, that reviewing and blogging screwed up our reading. I can't even read a book now without rating it and without reviewing it in my mind. I sure don't post much because I had a phase where I hated my blog because it just sucks and it sucked the happiness in reading. I keep on justifying why I like a book when before, I just like it. I feel like I have to explain myself when in reality, I don't. I don't need to be objective, it's my blog. It's my blog so I can say whatever I want, not thinking of softening the blow of a bad review to authors and whatever. I mean, I still won't bash authors just because I hate the book but I should be free to hate on a book I hate, right? Moreover, my reviews all sound the same by now and it just made me sad and scornful at the time.

With the need for an outlet for my personal life, I also revived my personal blog. And it made me happy, really. I was on my own domain for a while but I didn't post a thing for a year because of Oops! I Read A Book Again so $18 down the drain! Admittedly, I kicked myself in the shins for that but now that I'm on a free domain once again, there's no pressure to post. I want to post at times but then I get lazy and I just tell my friends what I wanted to share so I have an outlet.

With everything that has happened, I vowed not to read books I got for review for a while. I started reading Special Topics in Calamity Physics and I remember berating myself why I read so slow because I've been reading the book for a week and I'm not even halfway. Which made me think: WHY AM I RUSHING? This is not for review and I'm reading it for my own pleasure. No one can hold something over me for not reviewing it because I BOUGHT IT. Here came the excessive buying of adult books. I was trying to even move away from reading YA books for a time because it felt like YA books = I have to review them.

It didn't last at all. I still haven't finished Special Topics because I dropped it. Ha! I'll still finish it in the near future but recently, I've been binging on contemporary YA reads. I guess you can never remove the YA reader in me, even though I want to "mature" with my reading selections. I also started reading Palo Alto because HELLO, JAMES FRANCO.

But here comes another disease of mine: skimming. I finished lots of these contemporary YA books via skimming. It takes me around 5 hours to read a book by skimming so I guess I don't really skim that much. Just that if there are tons of descriptions and non-dialogue, I tend to skip them and just get to the meat. I know, I might be judging the books I read like this wrongly but WHO CARES???? I was at an impatient phase in my life and I just want to read and know WHAT HAPPENS NEXT without all the hullabaloo of drama and angst and all that. I skim because a book either bores me or it excites me a lot that I anticipate and end up wanting to know what happens next. I plan on getting back to some of the books I read this way to properly read them but only because I like or even love those. Hihi. As for those that I hated or found so-so, meh, good thing I didn't read the whole book. Hehe.

So now that I've explained myself, I want to ask you: any bloggers feel this way too? I know Sab and Charlie have been feeling like this too, which explains our sporadic blog posts and whatnot. But I also miss blogging and sharing my views of books WHEN I WANT TO, not because I have to.

Which brings me to the NO MORE SIGNING UP FOR BLOG TOUR REVIEWS rule. I will, of course, have tons of exceptions for this like Daisy Whitney/Lauren Blakely's books, Elizabeth Fama's, Amy Tintera's, Kasie West's, Sara Wolf's and all the authors I love. But in general, I don't want to join them anymore. It's been known that I only actually manage to post reviews WHEN I HAVE TO aka when I'm part of a tour but they just stress me out so much. I feel bad for the organizers when I say that I haven't read the book because I'm in a slump because I know how hard it is to organize a tour and lose a reviewer. So I just won't sign up. No stress!

Lastly, I resolve not to pressure myself into posting a review if I'm not feeling like posting or even reviewing a book. I also resolve to let on the hate because I feel like I've been watering down my negative reviews, which ends up with me having pent-up negative feelings. I blog to let my thoughts about a book out and if that happens to be great thoughts, I blog to promote and pimp a book. But I need to remember that I'm blogging for myself and myself alone. I shouldn't think of views and comments and what other people might think because THIS IS MY BLOG. It took me almost two years to realize this. I mean, I thought I didn't care about numbers but of course I did, at the back of my mind. But now that I've been in an extended slump of what, almost half a year, I now truly know that I should not care about anything even remotely political or of the envious kind while blogging.

I thought that was my last thought but here's another one: ARC GUILT!!! I am still guilty over the review books I haven't reviewed so I have a PROJECT FALL 2017! I'm planning to leave the Philippines to get my PhD degree and all the post-docs and all career-moving endeavors by the fall of 2017. I know it's very vague but I MUST FINISH ALL THE BOOKS BY THEN. Hee! How do you think I should do this?

I've been thinking of alternating between reading books for review and books I bought/gifted/won so that I can quash that BOOKS FOR REVIEW ARE TAKING OVER MY LIFE!!!! feeling. Help me out here, guys!

Lastly (truly the last thought), I shall not compare myself to other bloggers. I told Sab a while back that I went to a bloghopping spree to my favorite big-but-not-so-big bloggers and I felt so much envy that they post a review every other day. EVERY OTHER DAY. HECK, how do they do that? That initiated a domino of self-loathing and blog-loathing and I don't want to do and feel that ever again. EVER. I look up to these bloggers and I know it's my fault for feeling so envious but that wasn't healthy. At all. I shan't compare myself to others and just blog FOR MYSELF.

BLOG FOR MYSELF.

BLOG FOR MYSELF.

I shall chant this until it rings true to me. I'm still trying to change all my outlooks regarding blogging so it won't be a stressful endeavor or hobby. So it won't kill the pleasure out of reading like what happened back in June and July. Because, as much as I hated myself and my blog for that period of time, I missed blogging and just typing this 1713-words-and-counting blog post makes me feel so much better. So I just need to make Oops! I Read A Book Again an outlet and blog for myself. Woohoo! Easier said than done but let's do it!

So expect more personal reviews from now on! That just means I can publish a review with exclamation marks only or a review with ugh in all caps. Haha!

5 comments:

  1. Yes to no signing up to blog tours! This is a sad phase but it's also liberating.

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  2. I'm hugging you right now, ate Dianne! You should make a BLOGGING FOR MYSELF banner sidebar thingy hehehehehe and YAY TO PERSONAL REVIEWS AND TO UGHS AND FUCKS AND EXCLAMATION POINTS mehehe

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  3. Please please please DO NOT write a review of PLUS ONE, Dianne! I hereby absolve you! The whole point of books is to enjoy them, and to escape your hectic life with reading, and it's awful if it turns into a job. You've already done so much to promote my work. Just think of the number of reviews that you caused to happen for PO, through word of mouth, Twitter, and the blog tour!

    Also I wanted to mention that just like you I've had to learn not to beat myself up when I see my author friends producing book after book as I plod along slowly. I try to remember that every person is different in how their work ebbs and flows, and those differences are good--they're what make our contributions interesting and varied.

    <3

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  4. Seconding everyone else's comments. :) Don't let reading keep you so stressed...you should enjoy it! You did the right thing in taking the time to step back and breathe. Find your balance again and do things at your own pace.

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  5. Charlie, Kayla, Beth, Anne: I love you all. <3 Thank you so much. <3

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