Friday, February 1, 2013

All My Reviews Sound the Same (feat. Jennifer Lawrence)

So, I have a confession. And it probably isn't going to make me sound very intelligent or articulate. But I love you guys, so I have faith that you maybe won't judge me for it and perhaps empathize just a little?


There are rare and beautiful moments when I sit down to write a review and I'm like "yes. YES. This review is awesome and hilarious and everyone is going to love it."

This happens like, 2% of the time.

But the other 75% (no, that's not bad math. Because 23% of the time, I attempt to write a review, but instead look up Jennifer Lawrence gifs), I sit down to write a review and reach to the farthest corners of my brain to think of The Most Amazing Descriptions for The Book That Blew My Mind and try and be original and unique about it. Then I'll finish and be reading over it and then all of a sudden, it hits me: "this sounds familiar."

Wait a second...


I've written pretty much the same stuff before.
In another review.
Wait, two other reviews.
NO, THREE OTHER REVIEWS.


The horror, you guys. I am FILLED with it. Am I really saying the exact same thing in every review I'm posting? OH MY GOD, what is wrong with my brain? Have I exceeded the capacity limit? Can I seriously fit only a certain number of sentences or phrases to describe my feelings for a book? Am I doomed to just mix and match amongst the already established descriptions for the rest of my life? I mean honestly, you can only use the adjectives "awesome" and "amazing" so many times.



And I'm trying to figure out the Why. I like to think I'm pretty smart, but when it comes to feeling like I have to sit down and write a review, my brain just shuts down. 
Will I never write a worthy review again? 
How am I even running a review blog?



Tell me how you guys keep it fresh. Do you take notes while you read? So many of you make me green with envy over your fantastic review style! Or, hey, do any of you get that same "I've written this before" feeling when you are plowing through your reviews? Let us commiserate. 

63 comments:

  1. The only thing that seems to help me change things up is to write up my review right after I finish a book. If my brain is still thinking about the book, I find it easier to write something unique to that book. The more time passes, the more generalized my thoughts/feelings tend to get.

    I like your reviews though, so I wouldn't worry about it too much :)

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    1. CHRISTINE, that is the perfect idea, honestly. It's just soooo hard to drag yourself to the computer to type it up sometimes. And then everything gets in the way and soon it's like "WTF did I even read?"

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  2. YES YES YES! Sometimes I notice that I use the same phrases over and over. I know I'm doing it but I can't stop! I try to review a book as quickly as possible and that usually helps me. I think my best reviews are for books I LOVE, so that helps, but I have no control over that...
    I like your reviews! So no worries. :)

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    1. RIGHT. I just wish I loved every book so it'd be easier. In a perfect book world...

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  3. I get The Fear every single time I write a review. Will this do the book justice? will I be able to articulate my jumbled up thoughts? When will people realise that I have no clue what i'm doing? How many times can I say, read this book, without someone saying HEY YOU YOU SAY THAT EVERY TIME. GET A DICTIONARY MORON.

    2% of the time when I write a review,, I think, wow, I am actually the best reviewer ever to grace this good earth. I AM ON FIRE. look at me go! look how clever and witty and amazing I am! Why isn't anyone handing me a glass of champagne and a bunch of flowers and giving me a tiara and a sash!! You can all quit now, I've basically just won EVERYTHING EVER BECAUSE I AM BRILLIANT. i'm kidding. I'm kidding. except no I'm not.

    I keep it fresh by hardly ever reviewing books and being lazy; because then when my next review rolls around people have forgotten all about my last one it was that long ago. OH SNAP SO SNEAKY.

    ALSO WHY ARE WE NOT BEST FRIENDS WITH JLAW.

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    1. Come to the US. We'll track her down and convince her with many scientific reasons why she should be our best friend. I can't think of any reason why she SHOULDN'T.

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  4. STORY OF MY LIFE.

    I actually just noticed this the other day -- like hmmm this review sounds like this review and omg my feelings are the same. Like, I always type in all caps about my feelings. I always use the word AWESOME and FIERCE and I always prattle on about whether the MC is strong or not.

    I keep it fresh by using the word fabulous and also the word fantastic instead of awesome. ;-)

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    1. Hahahah I love "fabulous." And PUHLEEZ your reviews are always stellar.

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    2. That's because I work in words besides awesome hahahaha. <3333

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  5. If I didn't want to say YES I FEEL THAT TOO to everything you just said, I would still love this post for the high amount of Jennifer Lawrence GIFs. Because she, as you are probably well aware, is FREAKING AWESOME. But like I said: I can't agree more. I feel like I always talk about the same things in books, and I've also noticed that I always use the same words. I like blaming it on the translation thing (English isn't my first language) but actually, I just feel like that's all I can say. I've never noticed this in other people's reviews, but when I re-read my own, I basically want to hide and feel miserable because WHY AREN'T I MORE CREATIVE?! So... that's all. Love this post!

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    1. And just to clarify: I love it because I can relate to it so well. Not because it's a fun thing, but... oh well.

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    2. JLaw makes EVERYTHING better. And I totally understood what you were saying! Gahhh, it's so not a fun thing.

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  6. This made me laugh so hard...because it's so true not just for you but pretty much every blogger out there, I'm guessing. It certainly happens to me (Amanda @ Book Bender just talked about her reviewing quirks including the word "so"...right along these lines! LOL!). I've been trying to shake it up in the way I approach reviews and lay them out but that doesn't always work either. Oh, well. We do our best, right?

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    1. Yeah, I think we all feel this at one point. The whole self-deprecating NO ONE LOVES ME thing, too. It just comes with the territory. PS: I really just wanted to use a bunch of Jennifer Lawrence GIFs, so this post seemed a good an excuse as any :)

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  7. Ummm...yeah this is exactly why I write super short reviews now. Mine were feeling the same so I needed to change up the way I wrote my reviews.

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    1. Actually, I prefer the short reviews over the long, descriptive ones! So yay for you :) My attention span sucks, so short reviews totally cater to that.

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  8. Every time. Every single time. I just try to keep going. I'm not as clever as many of the other bloggers I see out there doing super cool posts and mixing things up. But that's okay. I just do what I do and hope it helps someone.

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    1. HEIDI, you are so positive, I love it. I appreciate your life for that mentality!! But I totally feel you on the super cool posts thing. It's like "why didn't I think of that? I suck." A downward shame spiral.

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  9. I've felt like this too-it does help to write immediately after finishing when the most details are right in your head but sometimes you just gotta go with the J.Law gifs :)

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    1. JLaw GIFs are a staple in my life. And it feels so right to use them to convey my particular sentiment.

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  10. I loathe writing reviews for this very reason. I'll look back at a review afterwards and see that I wrote how much I loved this or that 15 times in the same paragraph and I want to cry. Some days the creativity is just not there. Don't feel too bad - it happens to all of us.

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    1. Hahaha don't cry! I totally feel your frustration, though. I need to have a pep talk with my brain as far as the review writing. WISE UP, BRAIN.

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  11. I think we probably all feel that way sometimes. I think I feel it the most when I'm writing reviews of an "ok" book. Not one I'm absolutely in love with, and not one I really didn't like. The ones in the middle seem to all sound the same...Characters, blah blah...setting, blah blah....

    Or if it's a really really popular book that everyone's reviewed. Sometimes I think, "Why bother" and that make it hard to be new and fresh.

    Yea. I get it. I have no solution other than to wait until tomorrow and try again.

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    1. Especially in a blogosphere that is always changing, it's a struggle to stay relevant. BLAH. But there are so many of you whose reviews I love reading (whether I comment or not. I'm HORRIBLE at commenting!) so never lose the faith <3

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  12. Oh gee. If you knew my review writing process, you would probably get very tired of me. I do a ton of rewriting, a TON. If I write a whole review, I will still delete it. Because it sounds bad or not right. I am also a word repeater -- organic! Natural! Fabulous! Ugh. It's tough. Actually I wrote my review for Austensibly Ordinary and then I re-read another review from a few months ago, and oh yea, used almost the same ending.

    I think this is just bound to happen. I also feel crazy and old and like omg, am I losing my mind? AM I BAD AT THIS? I do take notes, although not as great as I did the beginning of last year. I've started to get back into it. And I try not to wait too long between reviews. (Although sometimes I just feel like reading and not writing SO... then I get stuck again.)

    Honestly, though, I don't think your reviews sound the same. But if you do, there's nothing wrong with trying something new with your process. Good luck! And don't fret!

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    1. SHARE IT, ESTELLE. I need to know. I need to know so I can fix my own boring reviews.

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  13. I was seriously having this thought a couple days ago when I was writing a review. And then I'll read other blogger reviews and wish I could articulate my thoughts and feelings to the degree they do. But for me, I draw a blank! I'm glad I am not the only one who feels like this sometimes.

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  14. Uhhh, yeah, I definitely feel like this all the time. I need more words to convey how...spectacular...a book is. Awesome and amazing are just too easy. I think I need to start making up gobbledigook words that are on onomatopoeia for bookish delight.

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    1. OH, I am gonna steal spectacular. I haven't used that in a while ;) YES, I am on board with your made up words agenda. LET'S DO THIS.

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  15. I know how you feel. Sometimes I feel like my reviews are just fill in the blanks with different characters and book titles. Or that I just stepped out of sixth grade and starting trying to write reviews. It can be super frustrating. Which is why I neglected to review a ton of books I read last year. They weren't books I had to review just books I read.

    I used to take notes while I read but it made reading seem like a chore. I think I'll try to write some notes right after I finish reading so that I'm still caught up in the story but It won't feel as much like a chore.

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    1. Sometimes, I swear sixth grade me could write better reviews than late 20s me. HOW SAD IS THAT?

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  16. Yup, I am currently avoiding writing about 3 reviews, because I feel this way! I should probably invest in a thesaurus or something.

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    1. Ever seen that episode of Friends where Joey uses the thesaurus to write the adoption letter for Monica and Chandler? My review would totally end up sounding like that.

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  17. I feel like this a lot. I swear I have a review block right now, because I have notes down for three different books, but can't pull those notes together into a coherent review. I've started trying to put down notes -- I didn't last year, and I ended up having to reread some review books because I just couldn't get anything to come out when I tried to do a review.

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    1. Just write down a bunch of random adjectives and let your readers piece it together themselves. That might be a fun game! Hahahah... hey, I tried :(

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  18. Love this post! I usually take notes while I read so it's easier for me to write the reviews. For ebooks, I bookmark the places so I can refer back to them when I'm writing it, if the notes don't help.

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    1. Ooooh, that's a great idea! I need to use the bookmark feature more on my e-reader. I forget about it easily!

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  19. I feel like this often. I write a review...read it over and think..."Wow, I'm really not original at all." These are sad days. Then sometimes I write a really good review and I give myself a little pat on the back. You are not alone!

    I have started to jot down little thoughts when they come to me while I'm reading and this seems to help a lot. If only I can remember to do this more often. :)

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    1. I think I'll go back to the jotting while reading plan. It really did help! Glad to know it helps you, too. And HIGH FIVE on the unoriginal feelings. You are not alone either <3

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  20. Sometimes I get this feeling too! But honestly, it usually happens with books I give like 3 star ratings to. When I LOVE LOVE LOVE a book, I usually have so many things to say and I'm so spazzy, that the review feels brand new and unique. But if it's somewhere in the middle, or if I was just kind of indifferent about a book, I definitely feel like I use the same phrases or the same words. Those are usually the reviews I hate writing, because sometimes I struggle to even think of anything to say!!

    I don't usually take notes while I'm writing. Occasionally I jot down a sentence or two if, when I read it, I think to myself "OMG I need to address this in my review!!!" But most of the time I don't. However, I do sit down and write my review literally as soon as I finish the book. So my thoughts are always super fresh.

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    1. YES. Isn't it so much harder to review the "mehhh" books? It's like.... WTF is there to say? I try to put a positive spin on everything, but when you feel so completely indifferent, it's difficult. Those are the books I just... skip over reviewing. Bad blogger.

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  21. Yes - this feeling! Try mixing it up with a different review style. Do a list! Do a letter! Do a top quotes! Try using more exclamation points! (okay scratch that last one)

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    1. Hahahah I think I meet/exceed the exclamation point quota :) I have definitely been considering a different review style, but I don't want to gank anyone else's style. NAH MEAN?

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  22. I love you for this Jen. Wait too awesome (also Jennifer Lawrence gifts = THE BEST. That girl is awesome).

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    1. I want her to be my BFF. I want her to move back to Kentucky and hang out with me.

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  23. I feel exactly the same way! No idea how to fix it tho :(

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  24. It's not just you! I have it all the time too! I'm pretty sure all my reviews sound the same... By the way, I love the Jennifer Lawrence GIFS! I can never seem to find any good ones...
    :)

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    1. I just google Jennifer Lawrence Funny GIFs and all of these popped up!

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  25. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA can I just tell you this is one of my favorite posts I've read in a while. Don't worry I am not laughing at you but with you (or maybe at Jennifer Lawrence cause those GIFs are hilarious). BUT YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
    I just started blogging and now feel the pressure of making my reviews informative and entertaining and DIFFERENT but I feel like often default to using the same words and pointing out the same things. I notice though that the more notes I take while I read - thoughts/feelings/quotes - the better my reviews are. Although I am not consistent with my note taking.

    AND your obviously doing something right - you have a successful blog and a sense of humor and now a new follower - ME! :)

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  26. I tend to get really detailed when I write reviews, which helps, but I've only been blogging for almost two months now and I feel I use the same PHRASES all the time. The things I'm talking about might change, but I really need to add some variety to my voice. Though, I assume if I'm writing the same phrases a lot, I'm probably also saying them out-loud often, which has been kind of helpful to narrow it down to those things I say ALL THE TIME.

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  27. 1) Your reviews are funny and entertaining, therefore, it doesn't matter if you say the same things :P Seriously, I love reading your reviews :P
    2) I feel like this basically every time I write a review whether I loved it or hated.Not to mention, my reviews are stale and boring :P Maybe if I just keep writing my reviews will be better one day. Maybe.

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  28. I felt like this soooo often until I did something very, very different: I began talking out loud what I wanted to say in the review and typed that. Some how, hearing myself speak helped me get different words but I find that my beginning paragraphs ALWAYS sound similar. I must work on that!

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  29. And this post is just one of the many reasons why I <3 you :)

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  30. All I can say to this post is YES. I know PRECISELY how you feel. Though I do try to be careful about making my reviews sound different from one another, it's hard when I tend to use the same adjectives over and over again.

    What works for me, I suppose, is I like interjecting personal reasons for why I connected with the material. While I know that this doesn't necessarily work for everyone, and might not always be professional, I think that's what helps me make mine different each time!

    This post is my new favorite because it's (a) AWESOME and (b) Jennifer Lawrence!

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  31. This is such a great post! I think that this is something we all struggle with, but I feel like a repeat in the way I describe things that I lived or hated about a particular book is just indicative of style. I may say things in similar ways sometimes, but that's just the way I write, so I don't worry about it too much :). And, really, we're only human!

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  32. I really love this post, Jen. And I definitely know what you're talkng about! Sometimes I'll get mad when I notice how many times I've used a certain word or when I love a book and feel like I don't really do it justice in my review. Or when I re-read a review a few days later and think, "Why did I think this was good? I sound so dumb." SO, I'm all about mixing up your review style. I think I changed mine like 3-4 times last year. It helped me not get too stuck in my ways, as well as start to figure out what worked best for me. So I say try something new if you want. Have fun and experiment!

    Also, Jennifer Lawrence gifs just made my evening. Seriously.

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  33. I work on improving my reviews with each one I write. Jennifer Lawrence GIFS just made me laugh.

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