Happy Monday, darlings,
Since I’ve somewhat taken a short step back from the blogging scene, I noticed many bloggers struggle with reading challenges, marathons, and even book slumps. Now, until recently, I was in the latter. And it took me a while to get out of it. Since I’m out, I realize I’ve put too much pressure on myself to not only complete my Goodreads Challenge but also read quicker.
Have readers and bloggers turned reading into a sport, not kept it a cherished pasttime? I believe we have. And more of us are understanding the adverse effects of that shift.
Amber from Ambreads brought the topic on her Twitter account, and she sparked a thought that hasn’t gone away. For years, I noticed I didn’t care about my GR Challenge. I usually set it at twenty books for an entire year. Now, I set it at fifty and hope to exceed it. But that change wasn’t as subtle as I wanted it to. When I began blogging full-time— and frankly, this post convinced I am blogging almost every day—I knew I had to consume more books to talk about, review about, and include in lists. I wanted to be more a part of the blogging community even though I was already involved in it.
But I noticed I put stress onto myself. The challenge I signed up for pushed me more toward the numbers, not the thrill of reading. I used to be more active on my GR account. I now tick another mark on that challenge and walk off. So how can stress kill the love of reading? Here’s what I figured out:
Reading Is Now a Chore
Has it come to that point though? As a blogger, I know it does. I know I have to read at least one book a week in order to stay on track. But I’m not.
As you can see, I am far behind my goal. I don’t care too much. Sure, three books aren’t bad. However, I’ve aimed for that goal for several years now. I am so used to going from one book to the next. Reading is almost like a mandatory task I must complete weekly. And I cannot fall behind my schedule, or I’ll wrestle with getting it back to where the number should be.
Consuming More without Reveling in Reading Defeats the Purpose
How can we love a book if we aren’t completely absorbed in it? We care more about the consuming, not the reveling. It took me years to understand this concept. As stated above, I didn’t give myself enough time to absorb the story I finished. I went to the next read. And maybe that may work for other readers. But I’m not entirely sure that it works for me.
Consuming thwarts the reason why we read. Reading gives an outlet to live a thousand lives, a thousand adventures. It should be enjoyed and protected. Unfortunately, our society taints this pastime.
Caring about the Numbers Isn’t the Point to Reading
A part of me still worries about the numbers, especially when it comes to blogging. I never knew that they’d affect my whole view on reading. But here I am, scratching my head, wondering how I got to this point. GR encourages readers to interact with each other. But it also encourages us to devour more books. We get weekly reminders of where we are in the challenge. Don’t get me started on challenges other bloggers create. I’ll talk about that topic in another discussion post.
Pushing Yourself Won’t Help
Honestly, we have enough outside forces pushing us to go, go, go. We do not need our inner voice to speed everything up. So don’t fall into the same trap as others, including myself, or you’ll regret that decision. You have a blog, younglings (furry, scaly, or human), and a job (or jobs). So don’t add more to your life. Life is stressful enough.
Stressing over Reading May Put You in a Reading Slump
Oh hell. I have to leave the best for last, right? Nice, Sib. Trust me on this. You’ll fall into a slump, you’ll question why you’re in it and how to get out of it, then you’ll get back on track. But you’ll fall into the same rut if you don’t see the cycle. See it for what it is. So let reading come naturally. If you’re behind on your challenge, then so be it. If you’re behind on the newly released titles, then so be it.
We need to find our way back to why we read and why we love reading. We can’t do that if we don’t acknowledge the fact that we’ve fallen into the consumer side of the industry.