A response that Neal Shusterman (author of Unwind Dystology and more) made on one of his recent Facebook posts resonated with me. The post and comments are well worth reading as there are several great tidbits. Someone asked how to get past writer's block. Shusterman replied as follows.
Write. That might sound facetious, but it's not. The way to get past "writers block" is to reframe it. Sometimes writing is easy, other times it's extremely difficult. That's not a "block" that's writing. If you accept the fact that struggle, and frustration is a normal part of the process, and work in spite of it, eventually you'll be able to move forward.
I took the response to heart and concluded that I could use that approach with my reviews. I am not reading much, but it would be nice to write reviews of the few books that I have read. I have lost all motivation to write anything. I realized that I could write something anyway, even if I don't like the book (which will be quite likely) or even if the review is inadequate. If I could begin moving back in the right direction, I might be able to start reviewing books in a fashion similar to what I once did.
Last week I wrote a review for the first time in some time.
Carolina Hurricane by Marian Rumsey
After I published the review of Carolina Hurricane, I wrote up some thoughts on the last three Hardy Boys Adventures books.
Hardy Boys Adventures #22 Trouble Island, #23 Mayhem Express, and #24 As the Falcon Flies
That took care of some unfinished business. I have mostly managed to write a review of the latest Nancy Drew Diaries book, although I am struggling somewhat.
I decided that I should post my reviews of the Moonstone Mystery Romance series. I wrote those reviews more than six months ago. Those reviews were done when I still had some motivation.
I selected a random book that I have had for a few years, Girl Scouts in the Ozarks by Nancy Nance and started reading it. I am writing a review! I will confess that the book is a bit weak but has some interesting parts. I find it easier right now to complain about a book than to write about a book I like. Perhaps I can expand to writing about what I like sometime soon.
I give you fair warning that any reviews that I might write could end up full of complaints. That's where I am right now. I'm not enjoying most books much if at all. If I do read a book, I probably still won't enjoy it that much. If I write a review, then it won't be a positive review.
Some of my readers dislike negative reviews and have complained in the past. If you are one of those people, you might not want to read my reviews. Back around three years ago, I was beginning to spiral down down into this slump. I read many books that I didn't like, but I did manage to review them.
I was told that I was reading the wrong books, and I was given unneeded suggestions on where I could find suitable reading material. Both then and now, most all books are the wrong book for me. I can't change that. I need to get in a better place, but it's going to take time. I am the only person who can get myself in a better place. I am the only person who can decide what I should try to read.
I do not need advice. Any advice will set me back. When I received the advice about what to read, it hastened my departure from writing reviews. Actually, it was that and the command to quit reviewing Sweet Dreams and get back to reviewing children's series books. Being told what to do caused me to lose much of the motivation that I still had at that time. It's not surprising that I completely quit reviewing books. It's going to be hard for me to come back from this, so...
Please resist telling me what to read or what to review. I have a house full of books, probably around 10,000 of them. Several times in recent months, I actually looked through the list of what I own and thought about which ones I could try. I pulled various books off the shelf and tried to start. I found that I could not summon any interest in reading a book that I have read before. If I'm going to read, then I'm going to have to read a book that is new to me.
The problem with that is that I don't know which ones I will like. I try to read books that I will like. At least, I try books that sound appealing, but I can't help it if the books do not hold my interest. Some books start out great and then fall apart. All I can do is try.
The pandemic-related stress is off the charts, and my goal each day is to get through each day. I will read as I can, and I will write what I can. I will not cause myself additional stress by setting goals or placing any kind of requirement on myself. I do not care how few books I read this year. For the record, I am currently at 3 1/2 books read in 2022. I will read what I can. And that's good enough.