Monday, August 04, 2008

On Reviewing and hitting the review shelf hard....

Some people have a reading pile or a review pile. I have a review shelf. Which, of late, has been weighed down to the extent that a large chunk of what I have to review can't even fit onto it and has been sitting in what became hastily known as the filing cabinet review drawer.

In fact, it was beginning to worry me, beginning to become too much to look at. The guilt was too great and I knew I had to do something. Luckily everything seemed to converge at the right moment.

The key element in this was a small improvement in Blogger. They implemented the ability to advance schedule posting. This meant I could write posts and set them up to go when i wanted. On top of this I found that I had a load of things I needed to write about and a load of reviews from the FPI blog I hadn't put up on Fictions yet. Suddenly, after writing about everything I wanted to I had at least 30 posts plus all of the unposted reviews. After a bit of scheduling I found I'd pretty much got the back end of July and the front end of August blogged out. I'd still write day to day stuff and blog about anything new that happened but it meant that I was able to give myself a much needed Blogging holiday of sorts.

On top of this I had the summer holiday. Six weeks where I was determined not to get overwhelmed by schoolwork. In fact, I imagine if I do any schoolwork it will just be some basic housekeeping and prep for September. I'm determined to keep school at school and do as little as possible extra at home from now on.

So a plan was hatched. Looking at my time and looking at the shelves I knew that if I could get 5 reviews done every week I'd have the review pile down to a mere handful by the time September rolled round again. 5 reviews seemed a lot to try but I'm a perennial optimist when it comes to what I can get done when I put my mind to it. So I set about the task with gusto.

Week 1: last couple of days at school and the first few of the holidays:
8 reviews in 7 days. Bloody hell. What happened? It seems this review lark is quite easy sometimes. Okay, so I'd deliberately cherry picked the books. A couple of reviews were just updates and rewrites from old reviews I had on the computer from ages ago, and one was, in truth, just an update and reminder of a past review that covered the fact that I'd read the whole thing and not just a preview copy.
But that still meant I'd done the 5 in 7 I was after. And more.

Week 2: Holiday week where family Bruton went away. You will not have noticed though because of Blogger's scheduling thing.
Always going to be a tough one really, as I tend to not get as much done when I'm on holiday. Something called relaxing seems to get in the way after all. But I took 4 books away with me in the vain hope that I'd at least get first drafts down for a couple and would have time to properly read them at least.
But surprisingly, probably due to the fact that there's no distractions at the youth hostels and the only limiting factor is how long I can type on one charge of the Libretto's battery, I'm not doing badly at all. I got all 4 done to the near final draft stage.
The next to final draft stage is as far as I can get to on the Libretto. The final draft stage is when I upload it to the FPI Wordpress editing package and add in stuff like pictures and links. It always gets a final polish and possibly more at this stage before I hit the final Save button and call it properly finished.

This means I've reviewed 12 books in two weeks.
I'm frankly amazed.
I have move everything out of the filing cabinet of review limbo and it all fits onto the review shelf.

I deserve a drinky.
Next, the holiday blogging.

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