Saturday, January 3, 2015

Why I Don't Do Reading Challenges




I just want to start off by saying I love reading challenges. Flights of Fantasy and Bookish Bingo are two of my favorite 2015 challenges, but there are great ones you can participate in that encourage you to read more debuts or more diversity or more anything you want. Yay for reading challenges!

And now I'll explain why I don't ever do them.

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Every time I log on Goodreads, there's this bright purple banner begging me--no, urging me--to set a Goodreads challenge. Goodreads wants me to set a goal of how many books I'll read this year, but je refuse, Goodreads. Je hardcore REFUSE. No matter what number I set, high or low, I'll end up wayyyy too married to it. I'm competitive even with myself. I'll feel like crap if I fail, and I don't want to feel like crap about reading books! I love books! This is why I like to take as much reading pressure off myself as I can...which is hard, considering I've already got a bunch of it.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x56/amtrak12/Gif%20Collection/tumblr_m2aske0Dju1qaimf2o1_r1_500.gif
(Megpresent)

I know. It's definitely first world blogger problems to be drowning in review books, but there's a certain degree of obligation and pressure that goes along with it. I am not a well-organized person. I'm just not. I've tried to do calendars and spreadsheets and the like, but I just can't maintain them. Not for blogging. I do take this "hobby" (ha, hobby, as if) VERY seriously, of course. So many hours, so much brain power, so much dedication is poured into this... but I do do it solely for the love. So I don't like to torture myself. I like to pull this whole blog thing off in exactly the way I like to do it, because it's for me.

(This is, incidentally, why I do not have a coblogger. Because I would be awful at it.)

How does this relate to reading challenges? Well, I'd suck at them. A lot. It's hard enough for me to read the books I say I'll read that were recommended by friends, or that I get from publishers, in a semi somewhat sort of timely manner. I'm a huge mood reader. Sometimes I pick up a book that's perfect for me and it just won't happen. A week later, maybe I'll glance at that book again, become totally sucked in, and declare it my all-time fave. My muses are fickle, but they won't be ignored. This is why I always read multiple books at a time. Then I leave it up to the muses.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-BXGn2zqCPCk/U5vzQz4IBAI/AAAAAAABG8g/uK1a6WGKe2I/s1600/tumblr_m8d95svnsN1r9vi6po1_500.gif
RELAAAAAAAAAAX

So why don't I set myself reading goals? Why don't I aim for 100 books a year, 35 fantasies, 25 debuts, 16 diverse reads, and ummm whatever, numbers and maths are hard? Because I like to go with the flow. Oh, I'm definitely going to make an effort to read as much fantasy as I can and to actively seek out diverse reads, but I don't want to quantify. I don't really love reducing my own reading experience to stats (though I love to see the stats of others. I'm also just not good with numbers. They're so... unfriendly.)

I just like to read as much as I can and not stress out. I like to read what I want. I don't like pressure. I'm not Type A, and all I want to do is relax. The moral of this post is that I'm a big huge mess. My reading style is a mess, and it does what it wants, and I have no control over it. And I love it. So basically? I try not to control it too much.

(But I'm very envious of those of you who can.)

21 comments:

  1. THAT'S IT. YOU CAN'T SIT WITH US.

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  2. I am your complete opposite. I can't read without reading challenges! I'm not a mood reader at all, so I need some way to pick what book to read next! If I didn't, I would probably just grab a book off my shelf at random, or read the first thing listed on my Kindle. I really cannot just pick a book because.

    I am a creature of lists and spreadsheets and guidelines! Organization keeps me calm, so challenges relax me.

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  3. I never pressure myself with reading challenges and for some reason, I always complete them without any effort. I like the extra motivation and challenge, but at the same time I could easily go without those reading challenges. I'm also a mood reader like you, but that doesn't stop me from picking the right challenges :D

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  4. I'm terribad at reading challenges. Have you seen my bingo wrap ups? I CREATED the challenge and I can't keep up. But I still LOVE this sort of thing. The setting of goals, the making lists, the crossing out of completed tasks. It's so much fun to me, and I think a lot of it is that I don't feel bad if I don't make it 100%. I know a lot of people DO feel that guilt so I totally get it when I read posts like this.

    You are entirely zany and out there and laid back and a follow-your-heart type of person in everything else you do so it would be kind of weird to see you taking part in challenges. Stay true to yourself, Gilly B! It's why we like you <3

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  5. I quite enjoy challenges and it motivates me to read however, if I fall quite behind it pressurizes me and then I fall into a reading slump which defeats the purpose of the challenge. But for the most part, I like reading challenges! :)

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  6. I have tried all kinds of reading challenges and every year for the last couple of years I have done the Goodreads Reading challenge, last year I didn't meet it. However, I wasn't disappointed in myself, because what I did was read what I wanted to read when the mood struck me and I managed to work in beta reading for a few of my favorite Indie author's, my review books ARC's/E-Galley's and also just read off my bookshelf and Kindle at my leisure. :)

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  7. That makes sense to me! I would feel so much pressure with all the ARCs and recs and all, I'm a moody reader tooo. I do like having a Goodreads goal though because I find it motivating and even though I was bummed I missed by 5 books last year (HAH) it wasn't the worst thing ever.

    I'm also doing a bunch of challenges just to get through the books I already own! I have tons that I want to read and I'm hoping this will force me in a timely manner. So basically, I'm going to read and count books I was going to anyway. Cheating? Maybe. Hahaha.

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  8. Hold up super derailed by my present so now I need to go reread to comment.

    *stares at present more*

    *pets screen*

    *licks*

    I'm sorry, whut?

    ANYHOO.

    "I'm competitive even with myself." this right here, I feel it so much I can't express it.

    Seriously though, so much all of this. It's hard enough for me to keep myself focused enough to read my actual review books (which I've been super failing at lately and the guilt is crushing and help what do I do) that the thought of adding a reading challenge with like, goals, and deadlines and restrictions makes me break out in hives. Seriously, I'm scratching my arms to hell right now just thinking about it.

    SCREW YOUR RULES GR I DO WHAT I WANT. Basically. Or something.

    More power to people who can do reading challenges but I am not nor ever will be one of them.

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  9. I'm so feeling every word of this post. I have done the Goodreads challenge in previous years but am saying good bye to it for this year. It does force me to put way too much pressure on myself and I don't do as many rereads or read as many longer adult books. I miss both those things.

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  10. I totally agree, challenges can be SO STRESSFUL. Especially when I overshoot my goal and end up feeling like a failure when I don't read a ridiculous amount of books. But I continue to torture myself with them. Why? WHO KNOWS?!

    Wait, it's me. I know. I've been in a reading slump and need the motivation.

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  11. I am also too competitive. I join one or two max but that's all because if not I get obsessed. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

    Danica Page @Taking it One Page at a Time

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  12. I love the idea of challenges and love hearing about other people's. But I quit doing challenges a couple of years ago when I realized: a) I read as many books as I can and don't want to feel guilty for what I'm not reading; b) When I look back over each year, I realize that I'm pretty good at reading all kind of books-- standalones and debuts and diverse, etc. and c) keeping track of all the challenges was too time-consuming. I do Goodreads only as a record of what I read because my memory is horrible.
    Jen @ YA Romantics

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  13. Oh, don't be envious. It still sets an artificial pressure on us Type A folks. But I do it because it's too, too easy for me to NOT read the 100 books on my shelf I bought and haven't opened yet, and just acquire more with shiny pretty covers. Reading challenges (like Bingo) force me to get creative within my TBR pile and read those poor, ignored books. But I say more power to you, because if I got review books on a schedule to read, I'd be even more stressed out. Beholden to myself is one thing, beholden to publishing companies? Too. Much. Pressure.

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  14. This is the first year I've done reading challenges, so we'll see how it goes! But I totally think reading challenges are one of those to each their own things because for some people it's great, but some people nope. And reading should be fun, so whatever makes reading fun and most enjoyable is what I strive to find. So we shall see how I find reading challenges to be after this year. I may come crying to you and wish I had been like you and just not done them at all. And that Spike gif.... YES!

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  15. you now what - same here (since this year) je refuse goodreads as well ;)
    puts more love into reading, if you ask me :)
    enjoyed this post a lot!

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  16. I so agree with everything you say. I was just on Goodreads last night and got off quickly. Just can't commit. Too much stress.

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  17. I totally feel you on this and rather wish I had the willpower not to do one. It will always bother me that I lowered my challenge so much last year, because who knew a social life takes time? However, I also read so much more when I'm tracking my progress. I doubt I'd have even hit 277 if I hadn't had GR making me feel like shit about my lack of productivity. But also that doesn't feel good. So I don't know. :/

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  18. That makes a lot of sense. Having the freedom in what you read without any kind of restrictions like challenge goals can be very comforting.

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  19. "there are great ones you can participate in that encourage you to read more debuts or more diversity or more anything you want. Yay for reading challenges!" -- I know, right? I hope there are a lot of challenges that'll help people discover more of the We Need Diverse Books this year.

    "Goodreads wants me to set a goal of how many books I'll read this year, but je refuse, Goodreads. Je hardcore REFUSE. No matter what number I set, high or low, I'll end up wayyyy too married to it. I'm competitive even with myself. I'll feel like crap if I fail, and I don't want to feel like crap about reading books!" -- I am 100% with you. I don't even count the number of books I read in a year anymore because the number frightens me. No matter what it is - read more than 100 and I'll think "man I didn't spend enough time this year doing other things" or "still not as much as X and X read" or "you're not reading fast enough" etc. etc. Not doing a challenge definitely helps with the pressure. "I'm just not. I've tried to do calendars and spreadsheets and the like, but I just can't maintain them." -- It's hard to keep up with that stuff, like you don't already spend a lot of time trying to keep up with all the books you want to read and review. I'm also a huge mood reader and am not good at following reading deadlines -- picking one book up and knowing that it's not coming out in a long time but still reading it over an already published ARC -- so reading challenges and goals just don't work. No boxes!

    "Oh, I'm definitely going to make an effort to read as much fantasy as I can and to actively seek out diverse reads, but I don't want to quantify. I don't really love reducing my own reading experience to stats (though I love to see the stats of others." -- This exactly. I love the pie charts others post and their numbers - what pretty figures they make - and I'm envious of people who can do reading challenges and the like but oh wells. That first pic is less accurate, judging by your comments here :). You are not alone, Gillian!

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  20. I think it's totally awesome that you don't do reading challenges. Why? Because that's what works for YOU! Honestly, to me, every single person has the freedom to choose what they do and don't want to do when it comes to reading. Whether you read by mood or schedule, by genre or date, it doesn't matter, as long as it's what you think works best for you. Personally, I don't mind a good challenge but I generally go for low-pressure/no pressure ones (like ours, and have I said thank you for mentioning it yet? No? Well, THANK YOU!) So here's to reading the books we want to read, challenge and no challenge alike! <3

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