If you’ve been scared to write reviews, you’re not alone. I might puff out my chest and say “I don’t care what this creator or this company thinks, I am going to write this review anyway!” but the entire time my stomach is dancing and roiling in fear. I have devoted entire blogs to reviews (or mainly reviews with snippets of interesting news as it comes available)/highly opinionated synopsi of products, mainly books and movies, and it never gets easier. What if you write a review of a novel you just read and it was critical and not entirely glowing but based in fact and you are chased by the “Be nice!” crowd of authors? What if the movie you started to review really didn’t work for you but you felt torn that you couldn’t handle giving a blatantly honest review and opening yourself up to heavy criticism but then the watered-down review didn’t go into enough detail to be helpful to potential viewers? What if the latest toy (whether the traditional children’s toys or the grown-up gadgets) is getting praise by every reviewer but you? I feel safe in stating that I’m not the only one who feels like this and would admit to it; other review bloggers have to feel the same kind of hesitation no matter how long they’ve been reviewing products.
You might be wondering how to handle your fear of writing a review. Excellent question! You can try different methods, including:
- Before writing a review positive or negative, take a deep breath. Getting centered and relaxed has nothing to do with the actual writing of the review, but trust me when I say that it puts us in a better place for when we settle in to write. Of course we can write when we’re a bundle of nerves, but our writing is much stronger when we let go of those negative thoughts before putting our fingers to the keyboard.
- As a “baby reviewer”-when you’re first starting out-you can keep the tone of any less-than-100%-positive review informational and non-emotional. For example, instead of writing “This product sucks!” you might say “This product didn’t work like I expected. Here’s why.” Of course, you should avoid antagonistic phrases such as “This product sucks!” anyway, but the idea of keeping your review less personal remains.
- Only write your reviews for products that you are well-familiar with. You may still face criticism for being honest rather than praising (praiseful?), but your responses will be based on your experiences and you will be better able to hold your own should a debate arise.
The way that I handle my review-writing fears is to tell myself and my audience that I am writing the review for the consumers, not the creators. Everyone who makes a product is proud of it, I totally understand that. However, once the product is available to the public, there’s no guarantee that everyone will like it or it’ll work correctly. An example: When I was a little kid, I was often disappointed in my toys for not doing the things the packages advertised and I had to return them for false advertising. Imagine a tiny eight year old going up to a customer returns employee and trying awkwardly to explain that this particular doll’s hair smelled “weird” (more technically, like it had been burned with a curling iron) or this other particular doll wouldn’t stand on its own. It was embarrassing for everyone involved, to put it nicely. During that time I wasn’t legally allowed to write reviews because of my age, which was unfortunate because consumers would benefit from hearing that the toys were “disappointing” straight from the source. Whether you’re reviewing toys or various forms of entertainment media or whatever your review niche(s) are, think of your reviews in context of what would be most helpful for others to know so that they can decide whether the product(s) are worth their time and money. I can’t stress this enough: Reviews are for the consumers, not the creators.
Readers, how do you feel about reviews (reading them or writing them)? Do you prefer reviews that only discuss the positive aspects of a product or do you want an honest, informative review? Are you scared or hesitant to write reviews? How do you handle your fear of review-writing?