It has been almost six months since I ceased VN of the Month. I can say now that while I do, surprisingly, miss some aspects of that particular column, the freedom giving it up has granted me is far greater compensation.
When I was doing VN of the Month, I was literally the only person commenting on most of the non-nukige VNs in a given month. I was driven by a sense of obligation to those who read my blog to continue regardless of what it was doing to me and my life, and I can say now that that wasn't a healthy situation for me.
I am still a VN addict. I probably always will be, just as I am a heavy reader in general and a lover of role-playing games. However, I still think the role I put it on myself to play was a necessary one.
How many people who play untranslated VNs give honest opinions devoid of spoilers? For that matter, how many of them are honest about their biases when they feel they can't give a particular VN a fair chance?
I made myself abide by a pretty strict set of rules when I was doing VN of the Month.
One was that I would primarily evaluate VNs based on story, character development, and setting, while only mentioning visual and audio elements when they were obviously exceptional. My reason for this is that I lack the background to properly evaluate the technical aspects of audio-visual materials, whereas I have extensive experience with all sorts of reading material in general and fiction in particular.
Another was that I would, on a regular basis, restate my particular biases, reminding people of the limitations of my objectivity. This was because I was writing on all VNs I played for the first time, and it would have been unfair for me to fail to state my biases beforehand when playing something that was outside my tastes or something that hit them spot on.
The third was a resolve to avoid excessive spoilers. My standard was the Getchu page. If information was released on the Getchu page or the official site, I didn't consider it to be a spoiler, but I was to avoid spoiling things beyond that, except when absolutely necessary.
The fourth and final rule was to strive for objectivity inasmuch as possible and be honest with myself and my readers when it wasn't possible.
These rules were my guide posts for the years I did VN of the Month, and they served me well, generally... but I reached my limit. To be blunt, VN of the Month was only made possible because of my high reading speed and my willingness to structure my life solely around playing VNs and making money to buy more. Naturally, this way of doing things was doomed to failure eventually, but I got so caught up in actually doing it that I didn't notice it really at the time.
Now, I play only what I want to play, and that makes me a much happier person, despite a few wistful moments where I wonder if I couldn't have done it a little while longer.