Dilemma of the ‘Did Not Finish’ | Book Blogger Problems!

So lately I’ve not been having the best luck with books.  Over the last few weeks I have picked up two books that I’ve not been able to get into, which poses somewhat of a problem for me. The first book was an ARC, requested via NetGalley. I haven’t reviewed this for one simple reason – I haven’t finished it.

The plot sounded brilliant, right up my street – a museum setting, a powerful female protagonist, a mystery to be solved. On trying to read the book, however, I just couldn’t get into it. The writing was difficult to engage with and the characters just turned out to be annoying. I put it down and instead picked up Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad; at 110 pages long I figured I could finish it in a few days and try again with the other book. Here I am two weeks later still struggling with it. (I must admit that I did put it down to read How to Stop Time before publication day.) It’s an important classic and shows imperialist British views wonderfully, but Christ is the protagonist boring. He drones on and on and on about nothing, with some racism thrown in for good measure, in long rambling paragraphs leading nowhere. Now I’m a lover and writer of literary realism, so long rambling paragraphs leading nowhere are kind of my thing, but must be engaging. I find myself opening the book and being unsure if I’m on the right page because it feels like I’ve read it all already.

As a reviewer, I feel like I have a duty to finish these books even though I’m not enjoying them. I can’t only post good reviews to have a well-rounded blog. As a writer, I feel as though it is insulting to accept an ARC from a writer who has clearly worked so hard on their book only to not even finish it, even if my review wouldn’t be great. As a person who unfortunately doesn’t get paid to read books all day (the dream!), though, I don’t feel like have enough time to put energy into books I’m not getting on with. So the question is:

Do I stay or do I go now?

What do you think – do I have a duty as a reviewer to stick it out and finish these books, or should I just move on to the next one on the pile? Help!

See you soon,

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Last Post: Review (not) Wednesday | ARC Review – How to Stop Time

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Always in the Write | Why I Chose My Blog Name

I’ve had a lot of compliments on my blog name, and being honest I’m actually quite proud of it – I think it might be the highest quality thing to come out of the cloud of dissertation preparation that was November 2015!  At the time I was thinking about what the hell I was going to do come graduation (tip: don’t take 8 months to figure this out and still not come up with anything!!), and decided that a blog would at the very least keep me writing, even if I wasn’t in a relevant job. A stroke of genius while trying to think of decent literary puns led to me saving Always in the Write on WordPress. I left it to be picked up when I had more time. I didn’t have more time until May, but I did pick it up – which if I’m being honest was a bit of a miracle. Looking back I probably should’ve planned ahead and written at least some ideas down in the months between coming up with the name and actually going live, but I’m not that clever. At least I went and did it, and I haven’t given up yet.

 

 

 

Here we are, still. I’m not in a relevant job yet, but the blog still motivates me to write. I’m invested in this now – this isn’t just a way to hone skills or something that looks good on a CV, this is something I truly care about and want to do well.

That’s great Ro, but why did you choose the damn name?

On to the name itself, there are several reasons I chose it –

  1. As I said before, I love a good pun.
  2. I AM always in the right. Ask anyone.
  3. I wanted this to be about my writing. I didn’t want to lose my love of writing (and reading) and I thought that if I had it in my blog name I’d be more inclined to, y’know, write. I committed to going into a writing job after initially planning on going in to teaching – keeping writing as a focus in my life and blog is a way to ensure I don’t lose focus or touch with my goals.
  4. Hello, it’s genius. I’m a genius. Perfect match.
  5. As cheesy as it sounds, it felt right. I’m a big believer in my own intuition and I had a good feeling about this name – perhaps like wands the blog name chooses the blogger…or I’m just a genius (see point 4)

I really like my blog name. I think it’s cute, clever and sums up what I want the blog to reflect – good quality, interesting writing and lots of books! I did think of it while the goal was to have a more creative writing focused blog, but I still think it fits me and my written voice well.

That’s my opinion, what’s yours? How did you choose your blog name and what do you think of it now?

See you soon,

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Always in the Write | I’m Back, Baby!

Hello, hello, hello!

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Look at me, actually publishing things – how swish! I’m so glad to be back, I’ve truly missed posting and sharing my thoughts with you guys. I’m back and ready to share what I’ve been working on over the past few weeks with you. I didn’t get as much done as I’d hoped, I’ll admit, but taking the pressure of having to post off has helped a lot. I’ve had the time to re-evaluate what I’m doing, work out what isn’t working and how to fix it.

Good for you Ro, but why should we care?

Well, I’ll hopefully be posting more regularly and with higher quality content. I’ve been thinking about how to achieve this, knowing how damn lazy I am and what little time I have. I’m struggling to find a perfect solution, but I think cutting down how often I post, just for now, is a good idea. I rarely managed to post on ‘Fandom Friday’ anyway. So here’s what’s going to happen:

  • I’m keeping Review Wednesday as is. It’s the one day I manage to keep up with, and doing a weekly review is good for me.
  • I’m not posting on Monday and Friday any more. Instead, I’m doing Saturdays, at least right now. Maybe I’ll go back to Monday-Wednesday-Friday again soon but for now I need to know my limits and work around my schedule better.

What will the result be?

Well, I’m hoping to produce better quality, longer posts that are closer to what I want to be putting out into the world. I have some strong opinions (I am a strong woman, after all – comes with the territory) and there are things I’m always saying ‘I could write an essay on this’; so why don’t I? I want to have less posts that I see as ‘filler’ compared to what I want to put out. Look forward to seeing more creative pieces, more think pieces, and of course more reviews.

Okay, what else?

I want to be around more. I feel like I’ve been a terrible Teacup lately, abandoning my beloved chat just as Mama Teacup has FINALLY come back to blogging (catch Breanna over at Too Cute For Life). I want to engage with the blogging community more, especially my favourite bloggers, & I hope that in getting more organised I’ll have more time to get on to twitter chats, meetings etc. and read more blogs. Once I have a better schedule properly in place I might put one night aside a week specifically to get reading & commenting on more blogs. You can’t expect people to like you if you don’t give anything back, right?

One last little thing. I think I’m gonna be more relaxed about taking breaks – taking two weeks to plan and knock a few posts out has been really good for me & hopefully the blog. I’m not going to be scared any more about stopping if I need to – in blogging what I’ve learnt is that quantity is good but quality is better.

Anyway, that’s the plan. I’m getting my butt into gear and working it out – I hope you’re as excited about it as I am.

See you soon.

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Last Post: Always in the Write | Seven Month Itch?

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Always in the Write | Seven Month Itch?

One of the big pieces of advice bloggers give about blogging is to plan. Create posts in advance if possible, write down ideas, take photos, etc. They especially say this if, like many of us, you work full time. Going into this job I figured I wouldn’t need to worry, so naturally things are going, for wont of a better phrase, tits-up. This probably seems weird considering my last post was introducing a new blog series, but it’s time for a break.

I think I’m in a bit of a rut – a seven-month itch, if you will. I’m finding it difficult to motivate myself because I know I’m not happy with what I’m producing and it’s just creating a vicious cycle. I’m not in love with what I write, and that’s reflecting in the quality and quantity of my posts. I have good ideas, but I don’t have the time to work on them. I end up either posting something nowhere near as good as I know it could’ve been, or not posting it at all and having to move on to something else that won’t take as much time.

I’ve been trying to get the review for this beautiful book done for so long now.

I will not quit. I’m not a quitter – the sheer amount of sugar I eat proves that – and I don’t want to start now. I’ve been putting off admitting it, but the fact is I need to stop posting – just for a little while. It’s very late, but here’s the plan;
I’m taking two more weeks, maximum, of no posting. It’ll give me time to write and actually finalise a fair few posts. I’ll be able to break out of the pattern of trying to write and edit an entire post in an evening, while hopefully actually getting more written. This isn’t a break, it’s a crash course in reorganising and getting my shit together.

You won’t be getting rid of me that easily, though. I’m sure you’ll be thrilled to hear I’ll still be on social media and in a fortnight it’ll be business as usual.

As always,
See you soon.

Last Post: Me Monday | A New Post Series!

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Spot The Difference – Why There’s No Review Today

So unfortunately there will be no review this week (booo – look out for my review of A Monster Calls next week though!). This is because I have some very exciting news instead!

We’ve had an upgrade!!

Okay, so you’ve probably already seen the new domain/the inevitable mountain of tweets I’ll make on the subject, but I upgraded the blog! I was super excited to be able to put money into this once I got a job and today was the day I decided to do that. I won’t be posting a review today for that reason – the blog will be a little temperamental for the next few days (according to WordPress, anyway) and I want to spend what little free time I have at the moment exploring the new features, tweaking the colour scheme to properly match my logo palette etc. Also I spent my blogging time today trying to get past a really hard level on Best Fiends.

Sorry this is kind of a rubbish update but these are exciting times for Always in the Write so watch out! Now to go and update all of my social media accounts – oy vey.

See you soon,

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Me right now. [x]


Me Monday | Life Update!

A few days ago marked the 6 month anniversary of this blog! I realise that I’ve missed several Mondays’ worth of posts lately, and haven’t really given any personal updates on the blog itself, so hopefully today will make up for it a little.

What’s New?

I am considering upgrading the blog soon – I’d love my own domain and I feel that it would be more professional and motivate me to produce better content. I’m biding my time until I get a new job though!

I said I wasn’t going to do NaNoWriMo… then got an idea. Review Wednesdays may be few and far between this month as I’m taking more time to write than read. I may share snippets if I feel like it but so far I’m very, very far behind so there’s not much to share!

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Health wise I know my last update (The Truth) was well, not good to say the least. I was getting some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy sorted but, perhaps ironically, by the time the letter came through at the start of September I wasn’t actually well enough to make the phone call to book my first appointment, so I missed my chance there. I’m doing okay without, though – I’ve never had therapy before and although I’m sure I would benefit from it I am able to cope without. At the moment things are ok, and looking up all the time, so I think I’m fine without for now. Onwards and upwards!

Other than the above, my life is pretty dull at the moment really! There are a few blog opportunities coming up though, and I am looking forward to Christmas and my birthday (cough 54 days cough).

To Be Read

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I have an ever-growing to-be-read pile at the moment! It feels like I finish one book and buy at least two more! Here are some of the physical ones I have:

-A Monster Calls – it feels like I bought this an age ago, and still haven’t read it! I’ll get to it eventually!

– Daughters of the Witching Hill – I bought this just before Halloween but didn’t get the chance to read it then.

-Suite Francaise – “If in doubt, read historical fiction” is slowly becoming my life motto. This has a really interesting back story so will hopefully be a good read!

-Humans – I know, I know, another Matt Haig. This came into the charity shop where I work and I had to pick it up. I am intentionally putting it at the bottom of the pile to mix my reading up, so it’ll be a while before I get to it!

-Reckless – I got this around the same time I got A Monster Calls, but I don’t really know what to do with it. I realised when I got it home that it’s actually an uncorrected proof, and much shorter than the published copy. I think I’ll probably get a copy of the published edition and possibly read both to compare, but I just don’t have the time or drive at the moment to read the same book twice!

So that’s me, pretty much.  What’s going on with your life? Are you on top of your TBR? Give me an update of your own!

See you soon,

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Last Post: Fandom Friday | The Stages of NaNoWriMo

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Me Monday | The Liebster Award

So I was recently nominated by the wonderful Lauren ‘Lizabeth to do the Liebster Award Tag! After my accidental week long break I thought this would be a nice way to get back into the swing of things, so here we go.

The Rules:

  1. Thank whoever nominated you.
  2. Post 11 facts about yourself (optional)
  3. Answer the 11 questions you have been given
  4. Nominate at least 5, but no more than 11 other bloggers
  5. Create 11 other questions for your nominees

I’m not going to post 11 facts about myself as I’d be here all day trying to come up with something interesting, so here goes the questions:

  1. If you could be any character from a movie, who would you be and why?

Oh man, this is a hard one! My aunt was ill around this time last year and told my mum that Wednesday Addams was like me, so I think I’ll have to say her!

  1. What is your favourite celebration? (Eg Christmas/Easter/Halloween..)

I love Christmas but Halloween has to be my favourite! The best films, fancy dress, and ALL the sugar – what’s not to love?

  1. If you could create your own chocolate bar, what would be in it and what would it be called?

But I like all chocolate! I do particularly love caramel, toffee etc though so I’d have to have something with those sorts of flavours- no idea on the name though!

  1. What is your favourite animal and why?

My favourite specific animal is my Labrador Ruby. I love all animals but especially dogs, bats (I’ve rescued two!) and horses.

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  1. What is your go to item in your wardrobe – no matter what the occasion?

I’d have to say my leather jacket – it’s really warm and has big pockets haha! It’s the jacket I always have ready to pick up and go.

  1. Favourite restaurant?

I don’t eat out enough to have a favourite restaurant!

  1. If you could invite three famous figures (living or not) to a meal, who would you have and why?

Oh god, this is so difficult. I have a huge list of people I look up to and would love to speak to!

  1. Where would you like to live if money was no object?

I feel like my brain makes this far more difficult than it needs to be too! I’ve always said I’d love a cosy family home in Wales or something but in recent years cities and more modern designs are growing on me. Generally I’d like somewhere with a nice community and good wifi, I don’t really care where!

  1. Who is your favourite TV presenter?

Mel & Sue. Undoubtedly. I also have a soft spot for Claudia Winkleman, but M&S reign supreme.

  1. When you were younger, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I wanted to be a vet, unsurprisingly!

  1. What movie always cheers you up or makes you feel better?

Do I have to pick just one?! It depends on why I’m upset but current favourites are basically any and all Halloween films!

 

Okay, now to come up with some questions myself – this should be horrendously difficult!

  1. What music has stuck with you the most and (if it’s not too personal) why?
  2. Do you have a favourite book or genre of books? If so, what is it?
  3. What would you consider the coolest thing you’ve ever done?
  4. What’s your favourite memory and why?
  5. Favourite smell?
  6. How do you get yourself motivated?
  7. What’s the weirdest dream you’ve ever had?
  8. What do you see as your greatest achievement?
  9. What’s your biggest goal in life?
  10. Do you consider yourself a perfectionist? Why/why not?
  11. What’s your favourite past time (blogging doesn’t count!)?

 

I don’t know who hasn’t done this!! If you’ve already done it you don’t have to do it again or anything (you don’t even have to do it anyway, I know lots of people plan their posts way in advance!) but I’ll nominate:

 

Breanna (when her blog is up and running!)

Mchi at Mchiouji

Sophie at Blame It On Chocolate

Sarah at A Little Reader

Jennifer at Young & Twenty

 

And if there’s anyone in the blogosphere who hasn’t done it yet, consider yourself nominated! It’s so hard to come up with original questions so if I’ve nominated you & you don’t feel like doing it I won’t be offended!

 

See you soon,

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Me Monday | Why Do I Blog?

Anyone can blog. The ‘blogosphere’ is saturated and sometimes it feels like there’s very little point in blogging – someone’s probably already covered whatever it is you’re writing about. Although I’ve only been doing it for three months, it’s so easy to lose motivation. This is why I’m so happy to be a part of the #IBlogBecause campaign and reaffirm why I’m doing this – it’s so easy to forget and I definitely need to remind myself sometimes!

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#IBlogBecause:

It’s a way to express myself. Blogging has given me a voice in a way that I just haven’t had before, even in creative writing. People listen to me! I can talk about what I want and the chances are someone else is interested, too.

The community. I’m becoming more involved in blogger chats and trying to find a place in this community – I love finding bloggers who are friendly and positive, empowering each other and supporting each others’ work. The internet can be a really dark place and it’s so good to find people who build each other up instead of shout at each other.

Purely because it’s fun! I enjoy it and I’m finding that I’m keeping up with it a lot more than I thought I would.

Do you blog? Why? Let me know!

See you soon,

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