Category Archives: Blog Posts

Let’s Remove the Guilt from a Creative Slump

I was going to title this “Why I haven’t been active” but it felt too much like a “Why I Left Buzzfeed” video so we’re here instead!

Hello, wonderful readers, writers, and bloggers alike! Long time no see from me as I realised my last post was way back in August. I have mentioned previously that I am a big mood reader but it has become apparent to me that I am in fact a mood everything! So, I now must confess that my absence has been due to the biggest creative block I could ever of imagined. But now i’m on the other side of it, i’ve had time to reflect on it and its fair to say I have a fair few things to talk about. Please bear with me as I vent along in this blog post but I truly hope that you relate and find comfort in the points I make.

Being a part of the book community via a multitude of different social media platforms has been so rewarding in all the many connections and friendships I have made. However, I have also found that it has exposed me to a mass amount of content; and while sometimes this is stimulating and inspiring, it can also be pretty overwhelming. A lot of the time I find myself doubting my own content and even if its good enough to bring to the table with such other creators! This happened recently to the point where I didn’t want to open Instagram and participate. In all honesty, it created a chain reaction where I didn’t take book photos because of the doubt; which in turn led to guilt for having nothing to post. Do you see my Catch-22?

It took one photo. One photo that I liked that made me want to engage again and what ultimately broke my mini hiatus. I felt as though I finally had something to talk about. Retrospectively I can now see that I was striving too hard to be perfect when I just had to enjoy it. Yes, it’s good to be proud of the content you make and it makes all the difference in how you feel as a producer rather than just a consumer of media. But, and there is a but, it doesn’t make me any less of a member of the book community if I don’t post every day. I can still engage in all the content that I was previously enjoying. I think this is where I was going wrong in that I was comparing what I was making to everything I saw online, even if it were different styles. So, where does this newfound insight leave me now?

Well, firstly I am trying to make a promise to myself to remember that as long as I like what I make; then it is good enough. If you take photos for yourself you don’t have to hold yourself up to unrealistic standards. The same goes for any art form be it photography, writing, painting, dance, or even music. You started it because you loved it and that is what should keep you going and persevering with it. As for my writing, well I shall also be persevering with that too.

I’ve decided to try and put my “mood” on a leash and I hope to tame her with a sense of competition, because if there’s anything else to note about me other than books its that i’m extremely competitive (seriously, do not play Cluedo with me). I have decided to challenge myself to write at least one book review for this blog each month (starting slow) and hopefully that’ll motivate me to write about more bookish things too. Also, I’m thinking of going ALL in with this challenge and I am going to attempt to participate in NaNoWriMo!!! That’s right I am here to make up for last time and all my moping whilst I was in the Big Creative Slump. If you would me interested I could post little updates here and would obviously love to chat with you all if you’re thinking of participating as well.

So my big take away from all this? you can still be a creative member of any community regardless of how frequent you post. Post what you like and reignite your love for what you’re doing. If you need a push it’s ok to challenge yourself; don’t hold yourself to other people’s expectations. And finally, the Big Creative Slump doesn’t last forever. Trust me.

Just the beginning: Series I need to Finish

I’m starting to wonder if I have separation anxiety and thats why I have so many series unfinished.

Hello my lovely readers, writers, and bloggers alike! It’s been a while since I’ve done a casual chatty post and now I have some things to say. Lately I have been thinking about all the books on my TBR pile that is so high it’s beginning to resemble the Leaning Tower of Pisa. As it turns out a lot of these books are within a series; which quickly made me realise how many I haven’t actually finished.

We’ve all been there waiting for the next book in a series when the time of reading to release just gets way too long and either we forget what’s happened or have moved on to different books in-between. If i’m being completely honest; more often then not I already own the next book and every time I see it on my shelf I get shifty eyes and pretend I don’t see it staring at me in waiting. Well, no more! Today I am making the pledge to write a list of all the series I have yet to finish so I can officially challenge myself to read them. If you’re like me and are sneakily avoiding certain books then I encourage you to partake in this challenge too! Let me know in the comments if you do; i’d love to know what books you still have to get through.

Ok, here goes nothing. Here is my official list of series I intend to finish in 2020.

  1. Throne of Glass, Sarah J. Maas
  2. An Ember in the Ashes, Sabaa Tahir
  3. Red Queen, Victoria Aveyard
  4. The Raven Cycle, Maggie Stiefvater
  5. The Dark Divine, Bree Despain
  6. Shadow and Bone, Leigh Bardugo
  7. The Body Finder, Kimberly Derting

However, with this being said there are also a few series that I have decided I will not be finishing. This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy the books I have read but more that I don’t see myself as invested in taking them to the finish line. I have already mentioned in my DNF post that I am trying to learn that by not completing books, or in this cases series, actually allows me time to read more books that I have zero doubts about. Some of these books just weren’t what I wanted them to be, I grew out of them, or in some cases the ending was spoilt and I wasn’t keen in the direction they were being taken. So here goes my list of series I won’t be continuing.

  1. The Chemical Garden, Lauren, DeStefano
  2. House of Night, P.C and Kristin Cast
  3. Divergent, Veronica Roth
  4. The Maze Runner, James Dashner
  5. The Darkest Minds, Alexandra Bracken
  6. Caraval, Stephanie Garber

Let me know what you think about my lists, and of course your series you want to finish. And of course; happy reading!

Negative Reviews

I’m back again with another one of my ranting sessions about an offhand comment I saw; this time it’s all about leaving a negative review.

I’m guessing that as a fellow reader you’re no stranger to the wonderful world of goodreads; the primary source of my never ending Want to Read List and the biggest Devils advocate for spending more money on books. I’m also guessing that you, like me, have spent a lot of hours browsing for your type of book and perhaps gauging the feel of it through its reviews. So now I ask you if you take head of the negative ones?

To me, a well written review has the potential to tell me what I will like about the book and ultimately what might put me off it; whether that may be predictability, pace, character development, love interests, or writing style. I sincerely value book reviews because the perspective I want to learn from is that of the reader (not the publisher or author) as their experience will liken to my own. So why is it then that there is such stigma surrounding actually writing a negative review?

Personally I believe that it’s easy for others to jump on the bandwagon and follow suit with the opinions of others. This in essence creates a ‘hating for the sake of hating’ response that ultimately clouds the real purpose of these reviews. Sadly, I think people often focus on the negative, even when positives are included, to the point where it no longer feels constructive or informative. That’s what the review really is: an opinion to help inform likewise minded people. I personally would much rather have an honest representation than a blind one where I may end up disappointed in the book.

So, I’ve decided in any future review I write to include both the positives and the negatives. My aim is never to be hurtful or detrimental but to just create a sense of awareness for any future reader. Besides, the optimist in me wants to remind you that if I say something negative about a book that you end up loving – well then at least it went above and beyond your expectations which is always a happy ending (even if the book doesn’t have one).

The Dreaded DNF

So, during my time in the reading community I have discovered that there are two types of readers; the ones who persevere and the ones who Do Not Finish. I’ve also noticed that there is some debate about actively marking a book as DNF; I myself have struggled with which category I wanted to be in. When a book appeals to you and you’ve invested time, energy, and money into it the last thing you want to do is give up. Recently I have made the decision to alter my own perception of not finishing books and I thought I would share them here for any other conflicted readers out there!

As recently as a few months ago I refused to not finish a book, and if I really really couldn’t I wouldn’t tell anyone and pretend I was still reading it; that I hadn’t given up. There was a part of me that felt really guilty if I wasn’t feeling it. I felt bad for the author and wanted so badly to keep going in case I was wrong and it did get better; but I also felt bad in myself. I had this weird notion that I wasn’t ‘the reading person’ if I stopped halfway, or even two thirds of the way through; almost like a was a phoney or a pretender. Retrospectively, I know this is wrong, nobody should feel like that. I mean, I never get mad at myself if I turn a movie off before its finished, so why is a book any different?

I believe that it’s because books are more personal. Theres an intimacy with books; the closeness of the pages, the images you make in your mind, the way the words make you feel. In a way the story is yours as well as the author’s. That’s actually when I realised that maybe it is ok afterall if I don’t finish a book. If it is such a personal experience, I cannot expect every single book to connect with me on an individual level. Everyone is different right?

And from there I began to think about it even further. When you browse a book and you put one back on the shelf, you don’t get mad at yourself because it’s just not what you wanted to read, theres no guilt associated with that and rightly so. There should be pride associated with the fact that we’ve tried a new book, a new author, or a new genre because even if we don’t finish it we’ve learnt more about what we do like in the stories we read. We’re expanding our knowledge, our repertoire so to speak. In trying these different books we may discover some things we like; maybe a new writing style, the voice of a narrator and maybe because of that we’ll pick up a different book by that author and fall in love with it. Everything is trial and error in life and books are no different.

Forcing yourself to finish a book you’re simply not feeling just isn’t worth it. Resentment builds and you end up projecting negativity about the book and possibly more; it puts unwanted pressure on yourself and ultimately could be time spent reading a book you actually enjoy. So, my fellow readers; those who persevere I applaud your optimism. To my fellow readers who sometimes DNF; thats ok too because theres always another book for us to read.