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! 😉
23 thoughts on “Whatever You Do… Don’t Look Back! (Thoughts on Old Reviews)”
I feel the same way about my old reviews. I’ve been blogging for 2 1/2 years now, and when I was adding reviews to my review archive, I cringed. The very first two reviews I wrote were for The Hunger Games and Dead in the Dark by Charlaine Harris. I can’t even read those at all. It would be way too painful. I wouldn’t change the review itself, but I do want to go back and change the formatting of the review and make sure the links all still work. That’ll be a daunting task but worth it I think. 🙂
I do think that my reviews have gotten better over time. I have switched up my formatting a lot from when I first started, and sometimes i want to go back and make them all consistent. But formatting is so time consuming! I do link up to them a lot and re-read them when I’m making booklists or such, and it’s helpful for work to have them to refer to. I think I used to be much more stiff and formal, and that I have a more laid back style now. Interesting discussion topic!
Ugh I hate looking back at old reviews! Some of them make me cringe SO HARD. Sometimes I get worried that people will read some of my older reviews and judge my blog based on reviews I wrote over a year ago. I’ve grown so much when it comes to my review style — and I’m continuing to grow. It kind of bothers me that those old sucky ones are my representation, but you’re right…it’d be impossible to go back and re-review them all. Plus, I’m sure that, if I’m still doing this in a year or two, I’ll look back on my reviews that I’m writing NOW and still be horrified haha. It’s just life. But I do want to go back and re-review a couple — specifically some old favorites and maybe ones that I only wrote a few lines for. But I don’t think I’d go back and rewrite a review for a book that I already have a complete review for. I definitely don’t have enough time for that! And it doesn’t bother me enough to obsess over it that much.
Haha, I love this! Don’t look back is my motto as soon as I hit publish. More often than not, I don’t even give my reviews a once-over when I’m finished writing them. I kinda edit as I go and when I feel like everything has come together, I publish it and don’t read it ever again! But of course sometimes curiosity gets the best of me or I get bored and I end up reading my very first reviews. *cringe* I mean, it’s great to see how much I’ve grown but seriously I may not have the best reviews out there right now but I’m a bit stunned how I would have ever published those reviews. HORRIBLE. Granted, I was only 12 when I started blogging and I think I’ve grown considerably since then, with blogging and beyond blogging, so it’s okay. The upside is that we’re all constantly improving in tiny ways so at least we can take relief in the fact that we’ll never publish a review like our first ones again!
You know, I think I’m one of those bad reviewers who hasn’t really grown much since I started blogging. I mean, I still don’t write about world building or writing styles or any of that. >.< I'm such a fail.
So I wonder if I go back and look at my reviews if I'll be as embarrassed as you. I mean, I need to add my reviews to Amazon and whatnot, so I'll have to deal with it eventually. But I think I'm more worried about looking back and thinking about how my opinion about a book has changed now that all my feels have settled! I'll want to go back and change my three stars to two or four or you know, add disclaimers to them all that it's all been changed! haha.
Who knew being a book reviewer was so complicated?! 😛
Haha this post made me immediately go to my blog and read my first review! In blogger terms, I think I’m still considered a “baby blogger” since my blog is less than half a year old, so I think it’ll be interesting to look back on my blog later down the road. I agree with you that those early reviews are important and relevant though, because now you can truly track your growth! I’ll have to remind myself that when I find myself embarrassed by my posts now 😉
I feel the same way about my old reviews. And I also really need to go back and start cross-posting my reviews. I do a great job keeping up on Goodreads, but not on Amazon so yeah. Should get on that because I know how much it helps the author. But yes, going back and reading old reviews is painful. They just sound so… young? I’m not sure what the word I’m looking for is. But it is also kind of cool to see how far I’ve come as a blogger in just over a year. My reviews have actually gotten a bit shorter (hopefully at least…that’s what I’m trying to do).
I like that, great advice. Yes, looking back and seeing how much we change our style over time is awesome. We see our improvements. And that can help us get better even now by remembering what we used to do, and how we don’t like that anymore.
I feel this way, as well! I recently kinked back to the first review I ever wrote …. and it wasn’t even really a review. It was kind of embarrassing to read it, actually.
But like you said, its awesome to see how you’ve grown as a reviewer, as well.
My reviews just used to be my opinions on the book, and how much I liked or didn’t like it. I didn’t really go into any analysis or talk about particular points.
But I do all of this now. And I really like the review style I use now that I am not so much of a baby blogger (only having turned one a week ago, haha).
Everyone has to starts somewhere!
Seeing as how I’m still in the “baby blogger” stage (my blog started picking up only early this year), I’m afraid to think about what it will be like a year from now. Will I hate my reviews? Will I be embarrassed? I don’t want to know, LOL! I think, like you said, there’s no reason to look back and cringe. It’s all a growing process, just like an author’s first book may not necessarily be as good as her second and so on. I know reading other people’s blog and reviews definitely help – if only to give me the drive to make my reviews more polished and all that.
I have felt this way a lot, too, so you are definitely not alone in this, B! Looking back at my 2011 reviews definitely makes me cringe… a lot. There has been major improvement from then till now! I’m sure that in another year or two, I’ll look back and it’ll be different again too. But I agree – there’s value in the old reviews too. One of the best things about them? Seeing just how far you’ve come!
I hate looking back at my old reviews. Like yours, they were so short and I really had no idea what I was doing. I try not to go back and rewrite them, but one was so bad that I actually went and put a disclaimer on it!
Haha. I bet if I looked back at some of my first reviews (also two years ago) I would be a bit embarrassed, too. But one thing that I kind of want to get back to that I did when I was a baby blogger (I love that term you used!) was shorter reviews. I’ve been thinking lately that I want to keep my reviews short. But I’m kind of terrible at that because I want to talk about ALL THE THINGS.
I know exactly where you’re coming from. When I first started blogging, I wasn’t discussing world building or character development or anything like that. I basically was just rambling, and when I look back on older reviews, I can’t help but feel embarrassed. Yet I love seeing how far I’ve come over time, and it’s wonderful to witness that progression. Sure, I’ve edited a couple things here and there on older reviews, but they mostly remain untouched. Lovely post, Brittany! 🙂 And your blog is so beautiful, and your reviews are well-written!
I actually enjoy rereading old reviews. I was a lot more formal when I started, more conversational now. The things that were important to me in a book are the same then and now though.
Oh, how fun! It’s great to hear the opposite opinion – that it’s fun to re-read them. I feel like it took me so long to figure out how I really wanted to write because I had never done it before and I think I was trying to “fit” into what I thought reviewing and a blog should be. Very awesome 🙂
My blog is only a few months old yet, and I’ve already experienced this oiy! I had never written a review before I started my blog, so things were kind of a mess when I wrote my first reviews (they probably still are, actually…). But I agree with you and I won’t be going back and re-writing old reviews. Those reviews are a great reminder of where I started and are also a part of my blog’s history 🙂
I just found your blog and I’m now following through bloglovin!
Haha it happens so quickly! 🙂 I think a lot of it is just really falling into your own writing groove. It definitely happened for my gradually so I have a period of time where my writing and posts were just awful haha!
Thanks so much for the new follow 😀