Thursday, 16 January 2014

Professionalism?

Right, fair warning, this isn't exactly a ranty post, but its something that popped into my mind and I really wanted to share my thoughts on the topic after a lot of deliberation - this wasn't even a planned post but here goes anyway. And, really, what it is, is professionalism in the blogging world and the like, as you'll see further on. (I did warn you about the possible ranting though, don't blame me if I don't make any sense though...)

After going around a few blogs I read regularly, I found a new blog (which is amazing, make no mistakes) called ThirstForFiction, and the reviews on books are amazing, not to mention that they very maturely showcase the opinions of the review writer (Rhys).
                         Now, it wasn't this particular blog that started me thinking along the topic of professionalism, but it was the one that prompted me to write a post on it this morning (although its Tuesday, 14th, when I'm writing this). And the main thought(s) I have are; do you have to be professional, do you reviews need to be full of clever grammar? etc.

Now, bearing in mind that I know bloggers ranging from 10 year old's, to 18's, to 28 yr old's, vocabulary skills among every one of them are going to be at different levels, which isn't a problem with myself, I find all the reviews excellent in their own way. But to some degree I think you need to be slightly professional, I mean, in blogging, you can't just go on and off as you feel like, its a commitment, once you have viewers you can't just bail on them without warning for two months then come back.
                          Also, interviewing authors, I've gotten to interview some pretty amazing authors, like Sarah Crossan (author of Breathe and Resist) and the entire time I was sending her the interview questions I was majorly fangirling, but I phrased my questions as well as I could and tried to not let my excitement seep through, but I think I kinda failed with the last question - but the point I was trying to make was that when you get into blogging you are given some responsibility, not that this should be pressuring in any way, and you have to handle that well enough to keep everything running, meaning that slight professionalism is required, though I really don't want to put this in a way that makes people think alienating yourself into a professional business-ey person, is the way to go, because it definitely isn't.

Reviews is what nags at the back of my mind most though, interviews? check. scheduling posts? check. reviews? ehh, not so much. What I mean by this, is I often come across reviews that are really, really, excellent, they show opinions perfectly, and clearly, and seem to be the epitome of English language, which then makes me look at my own reviews and think; "well, that's a load of crap". Not for the first time, I go back edit my reviews, and change it to some more professional, more adult. Which is so damn frustrating, because in the end it will go back to the way it was, because I don't feel comfortable putting on a "mature" voice, it really isn't me. Sure, I like to balance out my reviews properly, but I feel comfortable doing that, I feel comfortable describing plots and techniques without having to use all different types of writing techniques, and yet, and yet (!!) there is always a time when I will look back, think "who the hell wants to read this? it sounds like it was written by a rambling teenager". Again, ITS SO FRUSTRATING. Because, they were written by a rambling teenager! And its just this endless cycle of thinking the reviews I write are crap, changing them, thinking that's even worse, going back to the way they were; and this just happens over and over and over again.

On reflection though, its a lot easier to see how stupid this is, of course I'm going to be influenced by the blogs I read, quite a few of them are what you could call my "blogging idols" but I hate that this is the way I'm getting influenced, even though its not the bloggers fault that they're so good with writing those amazing reviews, and I definitely want to point out I'm not blaming anyone at all, this was just to share some nagging thoughts that have been on my mind for a while. Coming to the end of this post, I'm not really sure what the point is now. Do you need professionalism in blogging? To a very acute point, I believe. But other than that, if you're not enjoying what you're doing  its really pointless. And I do enjoy blogging and writing reviews, I enjoy it a lot, its just seems that after everything's said and done, that's when I start having doubts - considering how introverted I am, though, its probably just me.

Well... that was quite rambly, and ranty, but hopefully you managed to grasp my point. That entire post, yeah, that one, mhm, yeah, up there ^^ was entirely me, no techniques, no thinking about the style or grammar; written spontaneously when I felt the need to talk about this topic. And I don't have a problem with it, I don't mind how ranty it is, because the whole point of this was to rant a little bit, given the frustration of the situation (no intentional rhyme there), and let you all know how I was feeling about it. 

6 comments:

  1. Hmmm... when it comes to so called 'professionalism' in blogging all I think is important is to post relatively systematically. When it comes to bad grammar, I'm absolutely fine with it as long as it's an occassional mistake and not loads of them. I don't mind them because I do them myself, and often I know when they appear. But I'm not going to change them because this is how I talk in real life (but obviously I'm SO much funnier on the internet. ha. haha. ha.) and I want people to feel like I'm talking to them, not just writing for the sake of writing, you know? And while I understand why you sometimes change your reviews (well, kind of) I would never do that. I wrote them to reflect my feelings about the book (and added a dose of myself to it) and I don't care whether I'm rambling in them or write in full, well structured sentences, as long as I feel it's me. There's no obligation for anyone to read what I write so if they don't like it, they don't have to keep going. There will always be someone who likes my reviews with being sarcastic, and rambling, and making mistakes and whatanot so I'm content with that ;)

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  2. Hi Fionnuala, I was checking my google analytics and was wondering why I was getting clickthroughs from here - I site I've never heard of / all of a sudden - so I thought I'd check out what had happened! Thank you so much for your comments, they mean a lot.

    But on the topic of this post - I think there are spaces for different types of reviews. Personally, I try to write the best I can, as professionally I can; mainly because I'm proud of what I do but also because I want to push myself. Plus, as someone who wants to study English at University and move into publishing, it's important to me and can get me places. (You'll see that some of my early reviews are quite frankly awful - I was fourteen when I wrote those, I'm eighteen now, you can see the progression)

    But I acknowledge not everyone wants to read serious or formal reviews - and that's alright. So there's places for less-formal reviews, too. Keep in mind, also, that you're only 13 (I hate to be patronising but it's true - I've got 5 years more of English behind me, of understanding more complex texts etc)

    So I wouldn't put myself down about it - write reviews you want to read, not what you think other people will want to read. If you do it for other people, you're not doing it for yourself and you'll lose interest.

    Good luck!

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  3. Interesting post, Fionnuala! I think professionalism in blogging is important but at the end of the day, for most people it is a hobby which is pay-free. Not many of us get money for running a blog (unless you count being paid in books) so there isn't a reason to feel bad about going on a hiatus for 2 months or not reviewing a certain book. Everyone has their different blogging style. I really like reading a hilarious, fangirly blog with lots of caps lock and gibberish, but I also like to read serious and formal reviews with interesting opinions. It's up to the person and what they believe is right for their blog.

    I do get jealous of other amazing bloggers and their talent for writing reviews and their creativity. I'll feel a bit down if I publish a post that I think it a bit "meh" and then read an AMAZING post by one of my blogging friends which blows me away. But that's silly of me and I shouldn't feel that way! Like you said, it's not our blogging friends' fault for being so incredibly awesome ;)

    Sorry for my rambling comment. Whatever style you choose to write your blog I'll stil continue to visit it! You have nothing to worry about! :) Thanks for sharing.

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  4. This is a really great post!

    There have been tons of times where I've read these amazing reviews and I look at mine and think that wow, they're not actually that great. I struggle sometimes with reviewing, as a lot of the time I want to do hectic fangirling, but then I also want my review to sound as if it was written be someone professional instead of a ranting, fangirling, teenager. It's hard to know how to write a review but I think that's it's just best to do whatever you feel comfortable with :)

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  5. This is such an interesting post Fionnuala, not something I've seen discussed in so much depth before.

    To some degree, I feel you have to be professional when it comes to blogging. I mean, if you've been sent a book for review by a publisher, then they probably want a somewhat coherent review from you. But, that said, if the blogger's style is fangirl-y and gif-crazy then perhaps their lack of "professionalism" is what makes their posts so endearing; I think it really depends on the blog/blogger. Personally, I don't feel comfortable doing posts full of gifs… I'm not a super funny blogger and it's totally not my style. I constantly worry if my reviews are too plain or too boring and if people actually want to read them, but at the end of the day, I love writing professional-ish reviews, full of imagery and personal-touches… so that's what I do.

    Of course I feel stupid when a blogging buddy posts the most amazing review that I wish I had written, whereas I've just posted a normal one… but, like you said, I can't blame them for being awesome, can I? ;D

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  6. I feel like it is sometimes difficult to be professional whilst being fangirly, but it can totally be done.I think it's good to fangirl--it shows that you're passionate about what you're reading--but professionalism needs to play in that you aren't downing the author (even if you don't agree with what/how he or she wrote it).

    I also believe you need to be professional when contacting authors/publishers/etc, because books are a business! Though it's totally okay to let some excitement shine through--I mostly mean that it's inappropriate to include a million exclamation points, chat lingo, and emoticons when you're contacting someone for business purposes.

    As for reviews, I mostly look for well-organized ones that explain their take on things. For example, if you hate a book, tell me why! It could affect my decision to read it! And fangirling is wonderful, but please explain to me WHY you're fangirling, for the same reason.

    I think it just takes time to figure out your unique way of reviewing, and, whether it's profession, fangirly, or a mix of both, OWN IT!

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