the Little Red Reviewer

time spent on your Labor of Love

Posted on: May 16, 2013

The other day I posed a random question on twitter, aimed towards book bloggers. it was:

how much time does “content creation” for your blog take? how many hours per week?

Responses ranged from “4-5 hours per week”, to “up to 8 hours per week”, to “it varies”.   But if you are a book reviewer, you’ve got to read the darn book before you can review it, right? so maybe 8-10 hours to read the book, and then 2-3 hours working on a review?

It takes me at least a few days to read the book, sometimes I’m lucky enough that the review practically writes itself in an hour, other times I agonize over a review for days.  So for me, let’s call it 8-20 hours per week. sometimes the book is a fast read, sometimes it takes forever, sometimes I even get two reviews done in a week!  twenty hours a week? Labor of love indeed.

So, to everyone else, on twitter and not, all kinds of bloggers – food/recipe bloggers, webcomic bloggers, TV/movie/anime bloggers, photo bloggers, parenting bloggers, people who  blog about their lives and adventures, people who blog about anything and everything, it’s your turn, and I do honestly want to know.

how much time do you spend, per week, creating content for your blog?

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40 Responses to "time spent on your Labor of Love"

Well, these are numbers I arrived at in grad school, when I was working under deadline, but they hold more or less true I think. I read at an average (in English) of 50 pages an hour. I can write one single spaced page in an hour, if I already know what I’m going to say, at least double that if I don’t. Soooo, for an average 350 page SF novel, that’s seven hours of reading (90% of that is on my 2 hr.+ commute, so no net cost to me), probably 1.5 hours of straight writing and editing (my posts are generally one page plus a paragraph or two), and about that much mulling over what to say. 10 hours total? It’s the post organization that gets me; I only have 1-3 hours of Me Time every night, so that averages out to one post per week.

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numbers FTW!

I don’t read as fast as you, but an hour sounds about right for typing up a rough draft, especially if I’ve brainstormed ahead of time about what I want to say. But who knows how much time I spend brainstorming? i tend to do a lot of that when my brain is on autopilot – like in the shower or exercising.

the formatting does kill me sometimes, i can paste the text in, but adding in images, tags, page breaks, some other stuff, it takes time! I’ve learned the hard way to never ever say “I’m almost done, give me 10 minutes!” when formatting.

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You will note my complete lack of formatting, pictures, embedded videos, or anything more complex than a hyperlink. There is a reason for this. :d

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I think I did the embedded video thing once. NEVER AGAIN.

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Way too much time! ;)

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ha! that’s why it is called a labor of love. :D

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I’m going to quibble over definitions a little. All the books I read for my blog are things I would have read anyway, one way or another. As such, it wouldn’t be right to count that as ‘content creation’ time, I think. At least for me. I think there was one occasion in the past when I kept reading a book I would otherwise have put down because I wanted to blog about it, and while I quite like the finished post the actual experience of reading it was so tedious that I’ve never done it again (though I’ve come close a couple of times). I’m not getting paid or getting anything for free by blogging, so if it starts to feel like ‘work’ then it’s just not worth it.

So a related question, has blogging about books changed the way you read them?

As for the rest, the ‘big’ (usually) non-book posts I put up on Fridays take a bit longer. They’re a bit stream-of-consciousness though, so generally 1-2 hours to write in draft, then the same to edit and polish over the course of the next few days. Not that you’d know it. I hear you on the formatting though. I’m a bit link-happy at the best of times, and so many hours have disappeared looking for a very specific clip on youtube but not being able to work out just the right search terms to find it.

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And I will agree with the first part. Almost all of my reading is done on the bus and I would be doing it anyway, so it’s hard to count that towards the blog. I will admit that the Japanese novels take much longer to read and are occasionally “work,” but I figure it’s good for me.

As for your second question, yes it has. Or rather, the way I read changed in grad school, and the blog allows me to carry that over into SF, scratching my pomposity itch.

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quibble away! :D Most of the books I read for my blog are books I’d read anyways, but if I know I’m going to review something, I pay a lot more attention while I’m reading it, take some notes, maybe research the author a little more.

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I’m a slow writer. And I often research as I go. I spend the days prior coming up with an idea, and then spend two to three hours putting it all together, and I do that twice or three times a week. So that’s… 6-9hrs? Not much, but I’m part time, lol. Not even part time. Oh m’gosh. Okay, so I’m writing a novel as well. And waitressing…

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9 hours is a big chunk of your week! Especially with everything else you’re doing!

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On the tailend of a big week… I’d have to say I’d agree with you. Lol.

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I have about two hours of me time every evening (if the kids cooperate that is and go right to sleep once put to bed) and I can read about 75 to 100 pages in that time. I mostly write my reviews on the weekends and on my day off work and during my lunch break at work. Writing up a review takes about 90 mins if I’m on a roll without distractions, longer if not. With three posts per week (well that’s the aim anyway) that would make for about five or six hours spent actually writing posts and a lot more reading. But as the others said before me, I’d have been reading anyway!

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oh good, I’m not the only one who spends lunchtime at work reading or jotting down notes for a review!

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Hmm, it varies for me SO much, I’m not even sure how to figure out a number. I suppose I’d say 1-4 hours a week, but that is only if I’m not doing any picture intensive posts. I also would have read the books I end up reviewing anyway, so I don’t think I’d count that as part of the content creation. I have gotten some monetary return over the years from my blog, in the form of presents and donations and amazon gift certificates. Doesn’t pay for all that time, but makes it even sweeter and more fun.

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donations and amazon gift cards are sweet!!

with the photo intensive posts, do you do your own photography and then have to reformat or touch up? or is the challenge more finding images online that fit what you need?

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For me it varies wildly. The reading part comes easy enough, but writing something that I’m happy enough to post takes me ages. Getting a review to a coherent form can take anywhere from 2 hours to a couple of days.

While I’d be reading anyway I must admit that I take a different approach to books I want to review. I tend to pay more attention, make more notes and in general scrutinize it more than a book I’m reading purely for enjoyment (not that review books aren’t enjoyable too!).

If I had to put a number to it I’d say around 20 hours a week including reading time. Generally reading 500+ page novels also doesn’t help.

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it’s the same for me, that I pay way more attention when I’m reading a book I intend to review. Just like for you, it’s still an enjoyable experience, just a slightly more detailed one.

and skinny little 200 page books sure look mighty tempting as something quick to read and review when I know it’s a busy week coming up.

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I’ve never really counted the hours, but it’s something similar to your schedule. I think it’d be a good idea to time myself…

I would count the reading as part of the content creation, because even though I choose review books that I want to read, there’s still an element of work to it – I pick my next read based on publication schedules or wanting to work through my backlog. Most of the time I take loads of notes. Reading time varies; if the book is a read or I’m particularly determined, I can finish it in two days, one if it’s short (but I don’t have a job). Most books take longer.

Then I go through my Kindle notes or, if I read a print copy, I flip through the book and type/write out the most important notes and quotes. I jot down themes and issues to discuss, and in doing so I generally start writing paragraphs that will end up in the review. Then it’s writing the review proper. With the easiest books, I write most of the review in my head when I start reading and typing it out and editing it takes a maximum of two hours. That’s rare though; most take anything from several hours to several days. It’d be shorter if I wasn’t constantly distracted by the internet though!

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I usually draft my reviews in google docs, but of course, the distractions are killer, since twitter and my reader are only a tab away! I need to start drafting in Word, so the entire internet isn’t there whispering “you have 2 new interactions”. damn twitter!!

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I can often write a review in an hour, assuming the book is fresh in my mind and I have something I want to say. What I struggle with is content to write about that is more than just book reviews. Those type of posts take me longer and their value varies.

I probably am spending only a couple of hours a week blogging, but I read for enjoyment for many more.

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for me it’s the opposite. the not-book-review posts I can put together in about an hour, but recently book reviews have just been killing me. I try to at least draft the review within 24 hours of finishing the book so I can get my unorganized thoughts down. I can always go back later and make all the sentences look coherent.

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My book review posts definitely take the longest, and if it is for an audio book, they usually take longer because I spend time trying to look up how to spell the various names. Afterall, I was listening, not reading, but I want my review to be as accurate as possible. So, read the book, then 1-3 hours depending on how much I agonize over it (agonizing usually comes from trying to politely, but honestly, say why a book didn’t do it for me).

Posts for read alongs or just being social are easy as it is just organized run off the mouth stuff. Same for my farm blog. Perhaps 20-60 minutes, if I am dawdling.

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I’ve reviewed some audio short stories, and i had to do that too, looking up how characters names were spelled! Something I never thought up before.

I agonize more over the reviews of books I really liked than the ones that didn’t do it for me. If the book didn’t work for me, I don’t care if the review is mediocre.

btw, I love your farm blog!

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[…] much time do I spend on content creation? Andrea at the Little Red Reviewer had an interesting post about this very topic and here’s my answer — not much as I’m […]

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Lately, it’s not been much time at all since I’ve sort of been ignoring my blog and posting about once a week. I don’t think of the reading as part of the content creation but I guess it is because I have to invest the time in reading which can take anywhere from 6 to 10 hours depending on the size and type of book it is. I can write a review/post in about an hour or so but sometimes I spend too much time on the editing. I don’t know why that is. Now I’m thinking about how to reorganize my time to have the blog work better. Not an easy task for me but we’ll see how it plays out.

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hmmm…. maybe I should look at reorganizing the blog, not letting it eat so much of my life. Due to time constraints I’m just able to read as much as I’d like anymore.

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It depends on the book for me. Some books it comes really easy and I can fly through a review with little trouble. Other times (like the review for Cloud Atlas I’m in the middle of working on right now) take an incredible amount of time……

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Understandable, that’s a pretty complex book with a lot going on! :)

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I have not started reviewing books on the blog so that will lengthen my response here. On average I spend 2-6 hours per week creating content and managing the look and feel of my blog.

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keep up the great work! thanks for visiting and commenting! :)

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I don’t want to think about it. Let’s just say I could a lot of money if I spent this time more wisely.

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I know what you mean, Justin ;)

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As someone who tries to blog about everything, it varies by post. In an average week, though? Probably about 8-9 hours a week; that’s just writing the posts, mind you. I can think of good post material and it’ll be WEEKS before I get to it in most cases.

The Star Trek Saturday posts take the longest in a week, mostly because while I tell myself to watch the episode at the start of the week so I can have the review written in time for Saturday…that doesn’t always happen.

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If you leave out the reading time I would say anywhere from 8-10 hours a week. Some weeks much, much more. If I am doing any art-related post or post with multiple images that time increases a great deal because of the image editing, loading, placement, etc. Adding in the reading you are looking at 15-20 hours a week? I certainly think that time counts because while I would, like kamo, probably read the books anyway, but at the same time I do make decisions on what I am reading based on thoughts about what I want to review and when. Also I would consider time I spend on other peoples’ blogs as a part of that labor of love too, not purely as a networking thing but because that informs what I do and how I do it too. The relationships I have with other bloggers, as we all know, takes time commitment to build and maintain and that is every bit as much a labor of love.

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Up until last November, I spent at least 10-20 hours per week either reading or writing blog content. Of course, I also had a decent commute and lunch break that I dedicated entirely to reading Then I got swamped with balancing my new job and school, so I fell of the face of the planet for a while and barely managed a review every month. Now that it’s summer, I’m trying to get back into the swing of things, but on a more manageable and consistent level–maybe an hour of reading a day, and then writing reviews when I finish books.

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I didn’t get quite as swamped as you, but I’ve really been feeling a time crunch lately. It’s hard to stay inside and read when the weather has been so nice! Work keeps promising to slow down, but I’ll believe it when I see it!

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This weekend is going to be a much-needed break from work/school/etc. The entirety of my plans involve a stack of books and a bottle of wine.

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i’m hoping to do exactly that next weekend.

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Only just caught up with this post – which is significant to the point you’re making really. I would be reading anyway so I can’t really count that but I find that since blogging my reading time is less! But, you have to add in all the interaction as well, not to mention emails and managing/deleting them, plus keeping your review list uptodate, readalongs, etc, etc, – then, for example last week, I went on holiday and when I came back was immediately behind with everything. Yes, it is a labour of love, otherwise we wouldn’t do it would we. That being said I feel like I interact with so many people now who are like minded but also unique and passionate about their own likes and dislikes that it’s just intriguing! All told, and reading aside I would say at least 7 hours a week. My reviews are pretty quick really – only if I do them straight away – even if I finish a book at 2. am in the morning I’d sooner write something straight away – the problem being that I immediately pick up the next book and then the emotion from the previous book is diluted.
Lynn :D

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