10 Tips to Beat Reviewer’s Block

ReviewersBlock

You’ve finished a book and you’re ready to write your review for your blog. The trouble is the reviewing muse has deserted you. Know the feeling? I do.

Here are some strategies that have worked for me:

 

Tip 1 – Do NOT read other people’s reviews for inspiration. You’ll probably see some brilliant ones and get discouraged even more.

Tip 2 – Write something about the book – even if it’s just random words or phrases. Don’t worry about crafting a coherent review; you can come back to it later. When you do, it’s likely what seemed disparate thoughts will be easily rearranged into a cohesive piece.

Tip 3 – Go and do something completely different: weed the garden, take the dog for a walk or bake a cake. Without realising it your subconscious will be working away so when you next sit down to write your review, the words will just flow.

Tip 4 – Put together all the other elements of your review post – book cover, synopsis, author bio, links, etc. Hey presto, nearly half your post is done and psychologically, you’ll feel you’ve made progress. Now take a break. When you come back to it, completing the remainder will probably be effortless.

Tip 5 – Look back at notes you made while reading the book, quotes you wrote down or passages you highlighted – it may provide inspiration for a starting point for your review.

Tip 6 – Go back to basics. Think about your response to the plot, characters, structure of the book, writing style, etc. Write a few words about each.   Connect them together and you have the makings of a completed review.

Tip 7 – Sleep on it. The chances are tomorrow the reviewing muse will have returned.

Tip 8 – Try summarising the book in a few sentences to a friend, partner, the dog even. Often the act of talking aloud about the book – or even better, answering questions about it – will trigger a line of thought for writing your review.

Tip 9 – Dump your customary review structure and try something different – bullet points, images, gifs…

Tip 10 – Move on. Just pick up the next book and start reading…


Do you have any tips for when the reviewing muse goes absent without leave? I’d love to hear them…

 

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24 thoughts on “10 Tips to Beat Reviewer’s Block

  1. Oh they all sound so familiar, I’m grateful for the highlighting tool on my kindle and for giving myself permission to dog-ear pages in my books, the quotes always remind me of the thoughts I had while reading, I also sometimes write a few words on the Goodreads updates as I’m reading, they’ve saved me often when inspiration has run dry. I try to write first impressions on Goodreads, not the same thing as my review, just off the top of my head thoughts while fresh from reading, occasionally it might become the bones of a review.

    Great post, thanks for sharing it!

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    1. Yes, I always think getting something down, however rough, is the key. It’s comforting (I think) that so many others struggle with the same problem. Writing is not easy. Couldn’t begin to imagine the stress of trying to write a whole book…

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      1. That’s a whole other universe writing a book, I’ve had that experience and it was a complete immersion, like living two lives at the same time, I didn’t want to stop but life got too demanding and so I started blogging instead so that I could at least keep writing, but I dream of being back in that other worldly place of living within the unknown pages of a novel as they reveal themselves. For me reviewing is like remembering the past, while writing fiction is like imagining the future. Exhilarating and sometimes scary!

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  2. This is a great post and great tips! If I’m struggling , I leave it and usually end up writing it in my head while making tea or doing the dishes!

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    1. I find I have my greatest ideas (at least I think so at the time) if I wake up in the night and – poof – in the morning they’re gone. When I worked I found I had my best ideas sitting on the bus staring out of the window on my journey in. My team hated it though!

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  3. In my case, the review starts forming itself as I proceed with the story. If the characters are likeable, I know I have to say something about them. If the plot thickens, I get another point. Sometimes I start noting my thoughts down to write an effortless review. I never disclose the twists or the surprises as they could prove to be spoilers for other readers.

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  4. I have a handwritten template for review posts that I refer to for inspiration. I’ve added to it every time I’ve read someone else’s review and thought they’ve made an interesting point. Even if I ignore half of the items for consideration it usually gives me a few paragraphs that get the creative juices flowing. I find it also helps to bash out about 10 bullet points in draft format immediately after I’ve finished reading a book (even if it’s 2am) – I sometimes can’t work out what the hell I’m on about though!

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