Stacy's Place on Earth
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Tuesday, August 22, 2006:
Reading and reviewing - what comes first?
One of my hang-ups, weaknesses, problem areas is that I am not good with an assignment. I don't mind doing something for fun, on my own time, but when I'm given a job to do with a limited time to do it, some little juvenile impulse inside rebels like a mouthy teenager. It's always been that way. I think it's one of the reasons I always did mediocre work - because I'd complain and resist until I couldn't anymore, then I was running around trying to pull it all together. All I did was stress myself out.
I find that I do this when I'm reading and reviewing. Now I love to read, and it's something I couldn't stop doing if I tried. I read for pleasure, but also because there's a need in me to satisfy. However when that need is given limits, it rebels. This happened awhile ago when I agreed to review for an on-line site about a year or so ago. I had done several reviews for Amazon and B&N just for fun, and I enjoyed the process, even if I agonized over every word, and I thought I could take it a step further by reviewing on a regular basis. Not to get paid, but just to provide weekly/monthly reviews on certain books, mostly ebooks. It was something a little more legitimate and I thought I needed that.
And....I thought I could handle it. I felt up to the challenge. But my inner book reviewer threw a hissy. Now all of a sudden I had to select only certain stories, and provide a review within a certain amount of time. It could only have so many words and I had to list this, this, this and why. Or why not. I felt trapped. My inner b.r. was suffocating on rules, choking on the restrictions she had been placed under. I no longer enjoyed the process. It felt more like an obligation and soon I was not even able to enjoy the books I was reading. Instead of getting lost in the story, my mind was consciously looking for certain notable moments, and it was distracting me, but not in a good way. I could even feel my imagination shutting down because reading was no longer being done for pleasure. I was in reader hell.
So I stopped. All reviews. Even for fun. I took a break, and just let myself sink into the luxurious depths of my books once again, as I had done for years before that. Life was damn good.
Then I got a blog. And at first, it was only going to be my on-line diary. I figured no one else would find this place, but I couldn't shut up the hell up about it. Then I started posting the link. And doing interviews. And I even got a re-vamp from Gemmak (may her designs rest in peace). People came. Nathan caught my eye. I blabbed about him. I started doing reviews again. Still just for fun. Authors and other really cool people occasionally comment. Wow, it's not just me talking to myself as I had done for oh so long. I had friends!
But I am starting to put pressure on myself to "be first" when it comes to reviewing. Crazy, I know, because I am not the most happening place, and nor will I ever be. I'm perfectly fine with that because deep-down I have the heart of a fangirl and unless I develop rabies and start attacking naysayers, I will go mostly unnoticed. Thank God, because I'm so not good at being the center of attention (well, there was that little blurb in RT, but hey, it was all in the name of being a NK cover fangirl, so it really wasn't about me, per se, so that I wallowed in *g*). However there's still that pressure thing I keep doing to myself. Then I have trouble deciding which favorite author to read first. It's this crazy race I have with myself, and it's driving me crazy. Why can't I just enjoy my books, and leave it at that? It's not like I'm going to flunk a test. Just chill.
Okay, does anyone else feel like that or do I just really need to move on and let it go?


  1. I feel the same way when it comes to writing. I don't mind writing for myself, for fun. But don't get me in a whole schedule thing with a deadline. My muses hide, and I can't pen a single word. And I don't do well with restrictions either. The whole do's and don'ts of writing usually drive me batty.

  2. rabies? attacking naysayers? LOL, Stacy. I don't believe you will ever get that bad...but let me know if you start feeling frothy at the mouth. :P

    I understand what you are saying about doing it for yourself, but for me, I'm a procratinater. I may never finish what I've started unless I have a deadline or schedule to keep me on target. I also like rules because my mind wanders and, again, they help me stay focused on what it is that I need to do. The more restrictions I have the better idea of what I need to do and what someone wants to see. It narrows things down for me.

  3. I understand what you are saying and I am the same way, if it is for me then it is a pleasure, and I am okay with that, but it seems to take on a whole different life when you put it as must do, and that I hate. It is for that reason that I have turned down a couple of offers to do somethings, because then it would not be on my terms.

  4. In some ways I thrive on deadlines. It makes me feel important. Like I people are counting on me to get whatever it is done. That makes me feel good but only when it is something I enjoy doing.

    Sounds a little crazy when I think about it, but its the way I feel.

  5. I have to agree with Ms. Tempest Knight there. I have graduate school papers due and I am the WORST procrastinator, ooh, or edits. But just writing for fun, creating, I can go for hours if not days. And when I reviewed for the magazine-sheesh I had to read the books twice, once for me once for them, and I hated being so particular and formulaic, but there were guidelines to follow, and they were important I know but like you said it erased ME. Take your time and make your inner critic put down the whip! Read at your leisure and write when you feel like it-THAT is why your blog is popular and people come to read it, because it's honest and it's you!


    Oh yea, am I ever on your page.

    I can read a book a day sometimes.
    I joined a summer reading challenge for adults for the summer. Know what? I read ONE BOOK ON THE LIST!! Why? because I had to. And I didn't like the "have" to and the choice of book was done for me.

    I keep saying I want to expand my horizons, but find myself in the same old genre.

    Thank you for sharing this, Stacy.
    I feel better.

    However, please don't try to sabotage yourself. Continue to enjoy your blog. I'd miss it.

    Sometimes, you don't have to post meaningful things. Look at mine! Sometimes I resort to silly pictures and whacky comments. I need a break from posting big headed things just as much as readers need a break from reading them.

    Variety and spontaneity are wonderful things. Enjoy!

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