I wasn’t really aware of reading challenges until a few years ago. But after I participated in my first readathon, I started seeing them EVERYWHERE! There were readathons, book bingo’s, challenges and so much more! And within each one of those there was a list of goals to choose from – it was so exciting! But after a year of participating in a few different things I’ve started to reevaluate my opinions of reading challenges.
WHY I LOVE READING CHALLENGES:
- They create so much excitement and motivation to read! Before a challenge even begins it’s so easy to be caught up in the excitement. There are posts everywhere outlining the readathon itself, new challenges within the readathon are released (read a certain amount of pages/books, read a certain genre, read a book with a certain colour on the cover, etc.). The buzz in infectious! Any time that there’s that much excitement to read, i’m happy!
- Challenges remind us to read more! Let’s face it, we’re all busy. Sometimes we get caught up in the daily grind and before we know it we’re exhausted and just want to sleep or stare at a TV screen. But when you have a challenge in the forefront of your mind you may decide to pick up a book instead of turning to Netflix. Getting in a few pages here and there, and deciding to read a bit every day is a definite plus!
- They push us out of our comfort zone. I have to say that I love the small challenges within a readathon. We get so comfortable in the genres we read all the time and a challenge may motivate us to finally pick up a book in a genre we don’t normally read. It was a readathon challenge that motivated me to pick up a science fiction book. Turned out that I loved it and picked up even more after that. So I will forever be grateful for that push!
- They motivate us to FINALLY pick up that book that’s been on our TBR for the longest time! So many times I’ve picked up a book during a challenge that I’ve wanted to read for months but never found the “right time”.
- Talking with the bookish community! Being the happy little introvert that I am, I never would have thought this would be a plus for me. But talking with others who are participating in the same reading challenge is hands down my favourite part. I love seeing what everyone else is reading, if they’re reading the same things as me, and how they are doing. Other bookworms are my people!
WHY I NO LONGER PARTICIPATE IN READING CHALLENGES
- It’s all about the timing. Challenges can sometimes last for only a few days all the way up to a month in their length. I always think that I have the time to dedicate to it and then life happens. I get all prepared to read like crazy and then get let down when I can’t pick up my book as often as I wanted to. It’s frustrating!
- In order to be or feel successful you need to pick up smaller books – unless you’re a crazy speed reader, which I am not. I made it my personal goal to read what I wanted to read based on the content and not the size. My goal for 2017 is to read a certain amount of pages and NOT a certain number of books. This has worked out so well for me so far! I’ve picked up a lot of lengthy books this year and have loved so many. I don’t want to feel pressure to read just smaller books so I can reach a goal.
- As much as I love the challenges within a readathon, sometimes they just don’t apply. I’m very much a mood reader so if I force myself to follow a challenge that I’m not invested in then I’m setting myself up for failure.
- And speaking of failure, it’s not my thing! It’s really hard not to compare your success during a challenge against others. It drives me insane when I can’t meet my goals in the timeframe. I put so much pressure on myself to meet that deadline and when I don’t reach it I’m very hard on myself. The challenges and the successes of other readers can create a feeling of intimidation which causes me to slow down. I second guess myself and my reading abilities even though I know there are outside forces (a.k.a. life!) at work.
SO WHAT AM I DOING INSTEAD?
Instead of participating in reading challenges/readathons this year, I’ve created a challenge that is personal to me and attainable. My only goal is to read 50 pages a day. This is something that isn’t hard for me to do and is geared to my own reading pace. I don’t feel pressured to read super fast or finish a certain amount of books within a week. This motivates me to read every day and isn’t too overwhelming. I realize that there are some days that I won’t reach this goal. And there will be other days where I go above and beyond that goal. Point is, I’m reading every day and that’s all I really want out of life. I’m not saying that I’ll never participate in a reading challenge again! I still love them! But my life is too crazy to participate in them right now so I’m setting my own goals this year instead.
How about you? Do you participate in reading challenges? Have you stopped participating because you felt too much pressure? Curious of your thoughts!
Until next time, happy reading!