Book Blogger Confessions – Deadlines

Book Blogger Confessions is a new(ish) meme run by Tiger at All-Consuming Media and Karen at For What It’s Worth. Every first and third Monday they post a new question to open up discussion about common frustrations to book bloggers. Link up your post on either blog and hop around to listen to and learn from your fellow bloggers!

This week’s question is:

Deadlines for reviewing and blogging. Do you set them? How do you keep them? What do you do if you can’t meet a deadline?
I typically operate with soft deadlines, meaning when I accept a book for review, I calendar a date by which I want the review posted. I also enter it in a spreadsheet that tracks all of my pending review books, and prioritize the list based on the release date. Books with closer release dates get read first, as those are the dates around which I schedule my reviews.

These dates are not set in stone, however. The longer I blog, the more lee-way I give myself to push those deadlines back as needed. When I first started, I was incredibly rigid about my deadlines, but this led to me reading a lot of review books and very few pleasure books. This is a big reason (if not the reason) that I have stopped accepting review copies. I make an exception for NetGalley, because I have more self-control where those books are concerned, and I’ve made a conscious effort to only request books I know I want to read.

If I’m coming up on a deadline and I haven’t gotten around to reading the book, I push the review posting date back to a time when I think I’ll read the book. For a lot of my review copies, this has happened with embarrassing regularity, and it’s reached the point where I may have to contact the authors and tell them I can’t review their books.

Finding the balance between a blog made up entirely of review deadlines and one with a structure so loose that nobody cares to read it anymore is harder than I first thought. I thought deadlines would give me structure and allow me to plan my blog out to well-oiled machinery perfection, but what I ended up with was a joyless blog that consisted of lots of reviews and memes with little room for spontaneity. I have more demands on my time than ever, and blogging has taken a back seat. I still have a long list of books to read and review, but my posting schedule has more room on it now for interesting discussion topics that may come up or new memes I want to try without having to schedule them three months in advance.

Deadlines give me structure, but I can get a little crazy with them. I’ve found that without them, however, I tend to push everything off my plate and get nothing done. I’m still looking for that happy medium.