|Issue #16 of the Writing.Com Reviewing Newsletter.
Your editor is: Arwee
[ Table of Contents ]
1. About this Newsletter
2. Letter from the Editor
3. Editor's Picks
4. Ask & Answer
5. Useful Links
[ About this Newsletter ]
Do you have a reviewing marathon coming up? Trying to write a really long review for a
really long item? Are you getting stressed out with reviews? Finding it hard to keep going
when you’re on your fifth review of the day and the words are starting to blur on the screen? To anyone who has ever done a large amount of reviews during the day or a particularly lengthy review, reviewer burn out is a familiar problem. In this issue, I’ll highlight some tips to help keep the burn out monster at bay without sacrificing review quality.
[ Letter from the Editor ]
Let’s say you’ve set a personal goal for yourself, or entered a contest, where you have to write more than your usual amount of reviews in a week. Or maybe you’re trying to make your reviews longer than they have been and you’re losing touch with your final goal. The following tips are ideas meant to help everyone cope with burn out. While these tips are supposed to help with burn out during a marathon, you could apply them to NaNoWriMo writing, or long days at the keyboard/notebook plugging away at your stories.
One of my first and most obvious tips for keeping burn out away is to set your music
player or computer to play some music. I generally prefer instrumental music, most notably
classics. I find that music with a vocalist is distracting. But everyone is different, and if you like music with vocals while you write, feel free. Music helps push away the silence that can lead some people to grow fatigued quicker. It’s a fairly common practice amongst writers to turn on music while they write to provide inspiration or to keep the muses awake, so why not reviewers? Of course, those who find all forms of noise distracting could plug in some earplugs, not turn on any music at all, and enjoy their extra bit of silence.
Still feel weary of reviewing? Why not keep some snacks nearby? I discovered during a
marathon that the age old adage of feeding your stomach also feeds your mind works wonders for refreshing my reviewing juices. I tend to keep some fruit juice handy in case I need a little extra push to finish a review. You could use anything as a snack from cookies to, if you’re trying to eat healthier, crackers or pieces of fruit and vegetables.
If those last two tips don’t work, try looking at something else for a few minutes. Our eyes get tired if we stare at the same thing for too long. I’ve felt this happen all the time while I’m doing an in-depth review of a particularly lengthy item. Sometimes we just need to stop reviewing and treat our eyes to something different. This tip is particularly useful if you’re typing up the review on WDC or in your word processor because monitors tend to tire our eyes out much quicker than pen and paper. Just take about five minutes and look away from your work. I tend to keep magazines and books close to me. I can look at the books when I’m weary on reviewing but still have a thirst for words. And if I’m too tired of that, I thumb through the magazines and look at their pictures. WDC and reviewing on WDC involves a lot of letters so looking at pictures will be a change of pace and might be a welcomed break.
If all else fails, stop reviewing. I know, we’re supposed to be keeping the burn out monster at bay by not giving into it. But when you feel yourself getting too fatigued, it’s definitely time to stop and sit back. Don’t work yourself too hard because there will always be another day and another hour to continue. Manage your time so that you can afford to take ten minute breaks here and there, or a big long break in between your reviewing crunch. Take a stroll around the house. Go and watch television for a little bit. Make dinner, get a glass of water, go outside. Do anything but stare at your review on the computer screen. If you’re reluctant to leave, just sit back, close your eyes and do some stretching exercises to refresh yourself. But make sure you come back, it’s tricky when you force yourself to walk away from something because it makes it that much harder to come back to it. Just keep it in close in your mind, not in the forefront just close, that you need to get back and finish your reviews. Don’t let your thirty minute break turn into an hour.
I hope these tips help everyone on a particularly long day. Sometimes we lose sight of
our reviewing goals because it’s almost bed time, and we’ve been reviewing for hours. Maybe a break, a snack or some tunes is what the doctor ordered. Just a short one. And make sure you come back!
P.S. Happy holidays to everyone! I hope you all have a safe and joyous season.
[ Editor’s Picks ]
[ Ask and Answer ]
Feel free to write in with your own tips to keep burn out monsters at bay, and I’ll include them in the next ask and answer. Thanks to everyone who write to me with feedback.
Tigger thinks of Prancer Wrote:
“Great topic choice! A very well-written item can prove to be difficult to provide a detailed review for. Thanks for the tips.”
Thanks for your kind words.
“great newsletter! i agree, reviewing an accomplished writer can be difficult, but your tips are helpful, indeed. thanks!”
You’re welcome, and thank you for writing in.
Haley Frances Wrote:
“I cannot thank you enough for this particular newsletter, as this has been one of the most frustrating areas for me as a reviewer, the perfect story. And, I have read many of
them, and I felt I was useless as a reviewer because I couldn't find anything to say to help
them improve their story.
You have helped me with this more than you can possibly know because of that. I would
never have thought of targeting specific areas and telling them what was right with their story was critical feedback, too. This will help me so much.”
I’m really happy that I’ve been helpful and thank you for your comments.
essence of thought Wrote:
“It is so much true what you say. Pointing out the points of strength is as important as pointing out the weaknesses in an item.”
Absolutely! You said it perfectly. Thank you.
“Again, great tips. I loved how you stressed about covering those writing elements that were well done.”
I hope my tips come in handy to people. Thank you.
[ Useful Links ]
"Feedback Central" – Send the editors some suggestions and general feedback.
"Reviewing Newsletters" – View previous issues of the Reviewing Newsletter.