Friday, November 22, 2013

Discussion: Has Reviewing Made You a Better Writer?


I started Reading with ABC in May of 2012 after reading and following many blogs and being an active reviewer in Goodreads.  My purpose was and still is, to share my love for reading, something I’m really passionate about, with other like-minded people. 

I have never aspired to be a writer.  Just because I read a lot and write reviews doesn’t mean that I have the talent, patience, imagination, and time required to write a book.  I’m quite happy reading what the true masters of the craft put out there, and of course, I love to talk about them.  However, looking back at my first reviews (you can see the embarrassing truth here and here), it occurs to me that I have become a better writer.  I assure you that it might not have been intentionally, but it happened. 

I tend to write very long reviews.  I like to talk about the story, the general feelings while reading it, the plot, the writing style, and the characters.  I know some people would not go through the trouble of reading the whole review, but I do enjoy putting all my thoughts on paper in a non-spoilery sort of way.  

One of the benefits of reading is that, not only do you become a faster reader, but you also acquire an expanded vocabulary.  I love new words, I love to look them up and use them, I look for synonyms all the time and try my best to be different.

I choose the words I use very carefully.  As you might already know I’m originally from Puerto Rico and my fist language is Spanish. By now, I have been living in the States for almost half of my life, so I like to think that I’m proficient in English, however, some things can be lost in translation if I’m not careful. 

I edit my reviews at least three times before posting them.  I also do the same with emails or any other documents related to the blog and to my professional (real job) work.  I write all my reviews in MS Word and then copy/paste to the blog. This helps me out with spelling and grammar.

Guess what?  Practice does make perfect!  (Not that I’m perfect…)


Are you a better reviewer / writer now?  Do you use your blog to practice your writing?  Are you an aspiring author?  Are your reviews long or short?  Why?  What are other benefits of reading? 

10 comments:

  1. While I'm not aspiring to be a writer at all, I have gotten better at writing in general since becoming a book blogger/reviewer :)

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  2. I think the longer I do it, the better I am at being concise. Sometimes I wonder at bloggers who are extremely well read, but commonly misuse words, phrases and idioms. I can't help but think, "How does someone who reads 200 books a year not have a firm grasp of vocabulary?"

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    1. I tell the same to my children since they were all born in the States and English is their first language. I do tell them that it's not enough to speak the language, but that they must read to acquire more vocabulary.

      Also, I think a lot of people try to write the same way that they speak, and that's not always the best approach.

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  3. I will admit that I have noticed a huge difference in my reviews from when I started blogging. They used to be these tiny paragraphs! Sometimes I look at my old reviews and I am a little embarrassed. But I am much better and a lot more proud of my reviews now.

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  4. That's really impressive that you try so hard to make sure your reviews (and other stuff you write) are well written. A lot of people don't focus on that, but I think it's really important. And practice does help!

    I definitely see a HUGE difference between my original reviews and the reviews I write now. Not only has my writing in general gotten better, but I also write better reviews with more details and opinions.

    I like how you also mention word choice. I've been noticing recently that I have a big problem with that, and have been trying to get better and use different words rather than saying the same thing over and over again. Great post!

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  5. Thank you for bringing up this question, Liza! First of all, looking back at your first reviews, I want to say that it's amazing how much you've improved in just two years - writing more is definitely the key to writing better! :) I'm a new book blogger, and one of the reasons why I started a blog was to practice writing. English is also my second language, and because I'm a graduate student now, I'm expected to read and write more efficiently.

    With that said, my reviews are definitely longer than I want them to be, and I don't have a formula for what to include in each review. But as I write more, hopefully I'll be able to write more clearly and concisely!

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    Replies
    1. It is always a struggle for me to not go overboard. Since I love to read, I also love talking about books, and that makes it hard for me to stop!

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I love comments! Please leave me one and I will try to reply as soon as I can. Liza

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