Oh, nostalgia. I love looking back at my life — both my blogging life and personal life — and reminiscing about where I’ve been, what I’ve gone through, and how things have changed since then. It’s wonderful to see how much I’ve grown or places I could still use some improvement. I love remembering the good times and try to learn from the bad. But it’s easy when all of those memories are inside of your head… The good and bad thing about being a blogger is that every step of my blogging life has been documented in print and when I look back at old reviews… well, my advice to you is…
DON’T LOOK BACK.
Kidding, of course. Well, for the most part.
I just recently started cross-posting my reviews to Amazon (and Goodreads) which is a BIG job considering I had only posted a few reviews on Amazon (started cross-posting to Goodreads a little while ago so that wasn’t as bad) and I literally have hundreds of reviews after two years of blogging. Thankfully, I started with more recent reviews and am working my way backwards, but I just had an incident where I updated a review from 2012, only a couple months after I had started blogging. And boy, was that review a hard one to read.
Looking back at my time as a baby blogger can be downright embarrassing at times. I do enjoy seeing how much I’ve grown and changed my style since then, but BOY OH BOY are those reviews downright embarrassing. I still have qualms about my review styles right now but looking back at my very first few months of reviewing… I can’t believe that was me! They weren’t bad reviews, but the writing just seemed so sloppy, so rushed, and my reviews were so short! I had no idea that world building was a thing. I never really thought about writing styles unless it was incredibly obvious. I really didn’t just didn’t have the experience writing reviews. Everything I had done up until that point was just a quick jumble of thoughts spit out into Goodreads. The more I wrote, the more I read, and the more I interacted with other bloggers, the better (and less harsh) my reviews started to sound.
I do plenty of linking up to old reviews. All the time, actually. Discussion posts, full reviews, Top Ten Tuesdays… Lots refer back to those embarrassing reviews from when I first started and it ALMOST makes me want to go back and rewrite them. There are some reviews for some of my FAVORITE books that just don’t seem to do them justice now that I read them again and it pains me to share those poorly written reviews when trying to promote a book that I just couldn’t seem to put into words at the time!
So what can I do? Nothing, really. I can’t go back and change my reviews because those were my relevant thoughts at the time, no matter how they ended up on the page. I won’t stop linking up to them either because they’re still incredibly relevant reviews. The only thing I’ve been able to do so far is re-read. I’ve been doing a few re-reads of my favorites — not for the intention of wiping out the bad reviews, of course. Purely for the fact that I want to re-read them — but that gives me an opportunity to both reevaluate the book and reevaluate my original thoughts. I get a brand new review with new ideas and opinions!
I know I can’t re-read everything. There will just be those older reviews out there and I’ll just have to suck it up and know that even though they’re not always being actively promoted, people will still end up reading the old, embarrassing reviews. I just hope that people take into considering when I wrote them and that the feelings come across well, even if the words aren’t sufficient! And I’m sure to other people they don’t read NEARLY as bad as they do to me. I’m probably my harshest critic after all!
But old and embarrassing reviews aren’t ALL bad. At least I know I’ve grown over time! I’ve developed a review style that I really enjoy and feels effective for me. I still have quite a few elements from my “early years” in place and I’ve also added and removed quite a few things. It’s obvious how much I’ve grown as a blogger and a reviewer and the fact that things are so different now make me feel like I’ve really settled into my own little corner of the internet. When I first started, I would have never guessed my blog would be ANYTHING like this or that I would read so many books or that I would have so many amazing bookish friends.
So that advice of “Don’t Look Back”? Maybe that’s not the best advice to give. It’s always okay to look back and even to be a little embarrassed of your “baby blogger” days.
DO LOOK BACK
… But with caution! 😉