Reading Challenges: A Help or a Hindrance?

Reading challenges are something that I used to associate with school. I remembering being given lists of books that we had to read in a certain amount of time to win a prize in school and always being that smug kid that absolutely smashed it, but reading challenges came back into my life a few years ago thanks to Goodreads.

At the time I was in a huge reading slump (something I’m suffering from now) and so I didn’t bother joining in, not wanting to add to the pressure I was already putting on myself to be a ‘better reader’ whatever that meant.

However, in 2016 I started Book Bitches on Facebook and a few of us decided that we’d like to do a reading challenge for the year. I came up with the challenge – a book from a new genre each month – and I stuck with it throughout the WHOLE year. I loved it, and being made to choose a book from a particular genre really helped me to see it as a challenge and not just a mountain I had to climb. I did so well at the challenge in fact that I doubled my ‘book count’ for the year.

So at the start of 2017 I bravely told myself that I was going to do the same again and read 24 books. So far? Not so good. This year’s been a busy one, I’m sure I’ve mentioned it once or twice….so the thing is I used to read as a way to relax and get a bit of me-time and nowadays I’m finding that if I get any spare time I’m wanting to watch stuff that doesn’t require any imagination or thinking – reality TV is featuring heavily in my life at this point.

I have a few books on my bedside table and I’m halfway through one of them, but finding the time and energy to absorb myself in another world is primarily taken up either writing my own book or simply not having the will to read. I’m finding that part of this is due to my Goodreads challenge too.

Y’know when you get so far behind on something you just think nah, leave it. I’ve got to that point with my Goodreads reading challenge. It’s killing me off completely, whereas if I didn’t have that challenge in the back of my mind and the pressure of knowing how many books I have to read to hit my personal target, maybe I’d already have naturally come back to reading.

What worked for me last year is now putting me off BIG TIME and I need to get out of my reading slump in 2018 when I don’t have any “wedding planning” excuses left to get in my way – so do I take on another challenge or give myself a bit of space?

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