Fresh Start

Below are three questions I have been asking myself over the past couple of weeks…

  • As a sufferer of Depression, Anxiety and an “Obsessive Personality Disorder” (Wheeee, now there’s a diagnosis!) do I feel confident doing what I do here?
  • Am I being the best blogger I can be?
  • Am I the best writer I can be?

Recently, for one reason or another I have taken a hit to my confidence. I have found myself doubting my own opinions and abilities. I have just finished writing a review of Benediction by Kent Haruf, a book I am very passionate about, and yet I felt as if I’d said everything before. The writing was dull, it lacked any character…

Add to this that I have felt a little jaded recently towards blogging and it explains the lack of posts here and, possibly, the drop in confidence. For some time now I’ve had about six reviews that have needed writing and each time I sit to put down my thoughts I freeze. I end up closing the laptop and picking up a book to read instead. It’s not because I don’t like blogging – I love it. It’s not because I’ve read bad books – they’ve mostly been brilliant. I think I pushed myself into a hole and am struggling to climb out.

The three questions above keep cropping up. I am not navel gazing (to quote a friendly blogger) and I’m not looking for sympathetic head tilts, but it is true, I do suffer from those problems. My every day routine is full of nuances from those disorders that I have to battle. Only the slightest slip in confidence is enough to make me want to hide under the duvet and never come out. One day I may write a little more about how these things affect me on a day to day basis, but let’s just say they’ve thrown an emotional spanner in the works.

I don’t feel I’m a very good blogger. I am inconsistent and while I would love my OCD to push me to blog more often, it sadly doesn’t. So, I’m going to impose a rule for myself that I’m not allowed to move on to the next book until I have reviewed the one I’ve just finished and at least scheduled it on here. I also feel as if my writing never truly conveys what I want to say, so I need to work out how to do better. I have started writing for other websites and literary journals, so I am hoping that working under an editor helps to flesh out my writing a little more. I am declaring a fresh start. I will be writing mini reviews of the books that are waiting to appear on the blog (which will appear tomorrow) and from then on I will try to be more consistent.

I don’t tend to delve into my private life here that much, but I just wanted to say thank you to those people who pop by and read my ramblings, to those who comment and my very good Twitter friends. It has helped greatly while I have been going through recent problems in life. I don’t think people truly realise how much of an effect they can have on somebody through something as minuscule as this book blog. A few months ago I went through a very dark time in my life (for the second time) and my family and friends (both IRL and through book blogging) helped me to carry on.

Here’s to a fresh start!

5 thoughts on “Fresh Start

  1. debbierodgers

    I feel badly for you, having to face each day through the veil of those illnesses. I think you’re being awfully hard on yourself and might add ‘perfectionism’ to the list. 😉 Be careful of the rules you impose on yourself: the one about not going on to the next book until you’ve posted the current review may rob you of the joy of reading.

    I don’t care whether you blog every day. In fact, it’s easier for me if you don’t because you are one of the bloggers on whose very word I hang. Honestly, I respect your opinion very much, and often add books to my TBR wish list based on your reviews. (I should probably comment more often and tell you when I do.)

    Christopher Robin once said to Pooh:
    “Promise me you’ll always remember: you’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

    I can only add: what he said. REALLY. Carry on.

  2. Streetlight Reader

    I’m not sure if my words will mean much to you, but your writings definitely make me think “wow I wish I can write like Daniel.” I don’t mind that you constantly don’t update your blog and your reviews are really great. Also I’m not sure if this will be helpful, but have you heard of a program called Ommwriter? It’s a free program that goes full screen when you write, so you’re not distracted. It’s got soundbites as well that you can listen to. Sometimes I use it when I write reviews. I know my thesis advisor used to tell me and the rest of the class when it comes to essay time, write your essay early and keep it for a few days then go back to it. I have to say that advice was useful. Sometimes I write reviews and I leave them for a day or two and then go back to them because they I can adjust them and convey my thoughts better. Maybe you can do that sometime?

    I really hope you won’t feel discouraged. Your blog is great and even though I don’t comment that much, I enjoy reading your reviews.


  3. farmlanebooks

    Sorry to hear that your confidence has taken a knock. Amazing books do that to me too. Sometimes there just aren’t enough words to describe a book’s brilliance, but you (and others) have done a great job of persuading me to try Haruf – I’m going to read the first in his trilogy very soon.

    I’d also be wary about setting rules for yourself – it just leads to stress and disappointment when you end up breaking one. I recommend blogging when you feel like it – building up a store of posts helps as it means you can publish one whenever you feel like it and don’t have to worry about writing one every time you need to post one. I hope everything improves soon – good luck!

  4. Lindsay @ The Little Reader Library

    Just wanted to say I thought your post was very honest Dan. I have some of the same struggles health wise and blog wise, too. So I’m not sure if I have any great advice because I often find myself with similar self doubt and the inner critic rampaging as I write. I do agree though, with trying not to impose too many rules on yourself because then it can be tempting to be cross at yourself if you don’t meet your own standards, which are likely very high if you are similar to me in this regard. Wishing you a better time from now onwards.

  5. Heather

    I want you to know that I think you’re a fantastic blogger–your blog is one of my favorites to read.

    I don’t end up reviewing all of the books I read. At first, I felt the same way you do about it, but I got over it (not suggesting you do this, just relating my experience). Blogging started to feel like a chore to me, and that was a very bad feeling. Now I just blog when I feel like it…and I’m okay with that. Blogging is one area that I refuse to allow my slight OCD to affect.


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