Running Away From Reading Challenges!

running-away-from-reading-challenges

Reading Challenges are a hot topic, and there are A LOT to choose from.

There’s the super popular PopSugar Reading Challenge, and the equally infamous Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge, then of course there is the Goodreads Challenge, as well as the vast number this community comes up with themselves, and this year I’m putting my foot down.

I’m saying “no” to reading challenges.

In 2014, when I was new to blogging, I didn’t even know what a “meme” was, let alone how to take part in one, and I definitely wasn’t aware that reading challenges were a thing. When 2015 rolled around, I tentatively signed up to a few, and tracked my progress at the end of the year:

Goodreads Reading Challenge: Goal – 52   Achieved – 60
PopSugar Reading Challenge: Goal – 50   Achieved – 37
ReRead Challenge: Goal – 12   Achieved – 1
Discussion Challenge

I was very happy with my Goodreads Challenge, and felt I could definitely improve on the PopSugar one with a bit more effort. Rereading was a problem then, and it continues to be a problem now, it’s just not something I prioritize even though I tell myself it’s something I want to do. As for the Discussion Challenge, I never post as many discussions as I’d like to, but I felt like taking part in the challenge reminded me to post one every now and then. 2015? Not too shabby. Feeling reasonably accomplished, I decided to try again in 2016:

Goodreads Reading Challenge: Goal – 52   Achieved – 48
PopSugar Reading Challenge: Goal – 40   Achieved – 23
Discussion Challenge

I dropped the Rereading Challenge, accepting that it just wasn’t going to happen. Even though I was tempted by loads of other challenges (especially Must Read in 2016 and the Goodreads Awards Challenge). I decided to be super realistic, and keep it simple. Yet it still didn’t work out that well for me, did it?

Essentially, what I’ve realised is this:

  1. First and foremost, I’m a mood reader. I really can’t read to a schedule, and if I’m not feeling something, I’ll not get through it. Simple as that.
  2. I also seem to be a mood discussioner (yes, that is now a word). I can’t force a discussion out. When I’m on point, I’m ON POINT, but I just can’t schedule this genius!
  3. I did the PopSugar Challenge to try and read more diversely, but found I was retrospectively ticking books off as I was reading them, as opposed to going out of my way to find a book to fit a category. This tells me I already do read quite diversely, and that my shelves are packed with an assortment of goodies. If I want to read outside of my comfort zone, I can do that, but a challenge isn’t what motivates me.
  4. Setting myself challenges makes reading and blogging feel like less of a hobby that I do for enjoyment, and more like a job/goal/task that I have to achieve. And that just kind of takes all the fun out of it.

THAT being said, there is one challenge I am keeping this year (I know, I know, I love to be a contradiction), and that is the Goodreads Challenge. However, I’ve set my goal at 52 (same as it is every year), and it’s not about hitting that goal, it’s just a really simple and organised method of recording what I read over the course of the year.

Are you participating in any Challenges in 2017? Have you decided it’s time for a change and are you running away from them like me? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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24 comments

  1. I didn’t do any reading challenges last year and I missed it. I was more selective this year than I have been in the past – but I probably still signed up for 1 too many!

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    1. No matter how few I did, it always ended up being one too many! Lol so this year, I’m going right back to basics!! Good luck with your challenges! R xx

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  2. I’m definitely a mood reader, too! That’s why I never really bother making TBR lists for months/challenges/etc. because I rarely end up sticking to them. It’s hard to tell what I’ll be in the mood to read next, so I usually just wait until the time comes to decide!
    Happy reading in 2017! 🙂

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    1. Hi Holly! I can’t do TBR’s at all! What I plan to read and end up reading changes on a regular basis!! I’m hoping I’ll feel less pressure, and with less unnecessary posts to write (monthly/quarterly challenge check-ins, annual challenge posts, etc.) I’ll have more time to dedicate to reviews and original content. 2017 is the year when I’m really gonna push for more of that! R xx

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  3. I’m a mood reader, too. I just can’t do challenges. Except for the Goodreads one. And I always set it way low so I don’t disappoint myself. 😉 It’s better to just read what I want when I’m in the mood. Otherwise it sucks the fun out of it!

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    1. You used to do challenges though, right? I think we all dip our toe into the water with them. This year, I really want to find my groove with posting reviews and original content/discussions, and I feel like a lot of things are either filler content, or a distraction from that. So I’m removing the distractions lol that, and I want to reclaim all the fun, and I feel like the only way to keep your sanity as a reader and blogger long-term is to do what’s natural and organic for you. That’s the goal anyways! R xx

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  4. I’m definitely a mood reader as well so challenges don’t always work out for me in the end. I am really limiting the challenges I am doing this year and cutting my Goodreads goal in half to take away some of the pressure and obligation I was beginning to feel towards reading.

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    1. I know of some bloggers who ace challenges and TBRs, and if you’re structured that way, great! But for me it’s a big no-no. There are times I’ve started a book and not felt it, put it down, and gone back to it months later only to fall in love with it. If I read something when I’m not feeling it, it negatively impacts my view of the book, and I usually end up in a slump. That’s part of the reason I can’t really read and review ARCs to a set deadline either. I’ll obviously try to read and review a book from a publisher before its release date, but sometimes I go over a little bit. But hey, they can have a 3 star review on time, or a 5 star review two weeks later. I know which one I’d choose! Good for you for taking back control of your challenge! I hope you enjoy reading much more this year. R xx

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  5. I have done the 50bookpledge.ca for a few years, haven’t hit my goal yet (but I’m on my 3rd book of 2017 so I’m on track, haha), but I do like how the site is set up and that I can look back over the years at the collection of books I’ve read. I don’t feel pressured by reaching the goal, and I’m not afraid to put down a book and move on if I’m not feeling it.

    Enjoying your blog, thanks for the thoughtful posts 🙂

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    1. Do you use 50bookpledge instead of Goodreads to track the books you’ve read?? OH, I do wish I could get better at putting books down, but I’m REALLY bad at leaving things unfinished. Closure is my best friend!! I’ve DNF’d books on the rare occasion, so when I do, you know they are AWFUL. I’ll sometimes finish a book I’m not even enjoying just so I can rant fully in the review! Thanks very much Natalie, glad you’re enjoying my ramblings! R xx

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  6. I completely agree – I am also (mostly) saying “no” to reading challenges this year! I’m not even doing the Goodreads challenge as I want a complete break from my reading being goal-driven. The only one I am trying is Rock My TBR, with a very relaxed goal of 12 books for the whole year, as motivation to read a few more unread books on my shelves.

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    1. I can sense a revolution coming on, Emma! Last year, although I did still do the Goodreads Challenge, I made the effort to read more intimidating/longer books because I find with the challenge I’ll reach for 300 pagers far more often than some of the chunkier or more literary works because they take longer to get through. I’m planning to do that again this year, but to be honest, my Goodreads Challenge isn’t a “challenge” as such. I aim for 52 books every year without fail, and as I’m using Goodreads to track ratings, shelves, and covers of the books I read anyways, I may as well pledge to the challenge. I’d be the same with Rock My TBR, I own nearly 400 unread books… I’ll be reading through them anyways. So, no tracking, no check-ins, no linking, no wrap-ups. Just lots of discussions and reviews this year! 😀 R xx

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      1. Yes, bring on the revolution!

        I agree with what you say about reaching for shorter books to meet the goals – it will be nice to pick up a book without a niggling voice in the back of my mind! Good luck with your year of reading anyway – it sounds like you’ve got it all figured out! 😀

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      2. LOL! I’m loving the enthusiasm!

        I think that’s part of the reason I didn’t hit my goal of 52 books in 2016 (though I was pretty close to it!). I read Obama’s autobiography, which was long and slow reading (though quite enjoyable), as well as books like The Secret History, which definitely took me a little time to get through! I wanted to read longer works in 2016 though, so something had to give. I’m thinking more of the same this year – reading what I want, when I want, as opposed to feeling this self-imposed pressure to read certain books, or shorter ones. Not sure if I’ve it all figured out – scheduling can still be something I suck at! BUT, I’m definitely working on more original content, more reviews, and more organic reading!! R xx

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  7. My 2017 resolution is to read 50 books, reading an hour a day should complete a book a week.
    If I read 5 x 1hs a week I’ll consider it a success

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    1. An excellent amount to aim for! I tend to read for around an hour every night before bed and usually hit 50ish books in a year. I did notice I was reading mostly shorter books for a time, because a couple of chunkers will set you back. In 2016, I tackled a couple of bigger ones, which may also explain why I fell short of my 52 book target this year, but chunkers and more technical works are on my shelves, and I do want to read them, so something’s gotta give! I’m planning to do the same thing this year – A Little Life won’t read itself! R xx

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  8. I stopped joining challenges a couple years ago. Like you, I’m a mood reader. So in the first place I’d only join ones for stuff I read anyway…so is that even a challenge? I’m also just bad at keeping track of my reading and updating my progress, and I mostly find it annoying, so I decided to cut that out of my life and just do what I want. :p

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    1. Yep, I was just plodding along doing my own thing regardless, and then fitting it in to a challenge just to tick a box. Seems so pointless! I think I’ll be much happier just reading organically this year and not even thinking about categories!! R xx

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  9. I’m also a mood reader and I tried to find challenges that would fit around that and be more open. I don’t know how I’ll go but I have 8 challenges lined up for this year

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    1. EIGHT?! I don’t know how I’d keep up! I know they work for some bloggers, who monitor their progress religiously, but I just found I was doing them as an afterthought, and they weren’t actually driving my reading choices R xx

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