Why I Gave Up Goodreads Challenges
By Olivia Páez (aka @storiesforcoffee)
Every time, at the start of a new year, readers on Goodreads are able set reading goals that they hope to complete, once the year comes to a close. Some set ambitious goals to read 100 novels, within a year, and others set goals to read five. Most of these goals depend on the individual reader’s speed and ability to finish novels quickly. As the years have passed, I’ve begun to think of Goodreads Challenges as more of a race against time rather than a fun way to track how many books I can read within a year.
When I first began blogging, I used Goodreads only to track the novels I read. As soon as I discovered Goodread’s Reading Challenges, I set an ambitious goal to read 100 novels a year. But then something happened... I began thinking of it as an obstacle I had to climb over in order to gain the fleeting satisfaction of saying, “Yes, I read 100 stories this year!” I also started thinking that if I didn’t complete this goal, then I wasn’t a good enough reader, especially compared to everyone else who read massive amounts of stories annually.
Could I have set the goal lower? Of course. But the idea of lowering my reading goal felt like a failure, of sorts, and so many other bloggers were hitting that goal, so I stuck with it. It was something I had to complete in order to feel like I was an accomplished reader. I placed these high expectations on myself, and it sucked the fun out of reading.
Because of this Goodreads Reading Challenge, not only was I attempting to read at an impossible pace, in the midst of being a full-time student, but I was also actively reading shorter novels because I knew I’d finish them quicker. I gravitated towards shorter books simply because I could read through them quickly in order to raise the number of novels I read each year.
Once I began my college career, I noticed my reading pace slowed down significantly. College is a busy time in anyone’s life, and that caused me to read less books each year. This is what helped me step back and evaluate my past years — as a reader and book blogger — and helped me realize that I should stop setting a Goodreads Challenge.
Rather than stressing about the number of books I read, I began to take my time with reading again. A huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders. I embraced the fact that my life was getting busier, and I didn’t let myself worry about a number anymore. I finally enjoyed the stories I was reading, whether they were long fantasy novels or novellas. I stopped wondering if I was reading fast enough and was able to enjoy my reading experience.
I know many readers love setting a yearly challenge for themselves, but I learned that reading challenges and I don’t mesh well together. Whether you read 100 novels or five, in a year, you are still a reader, and the numbers don’t matter, in the end. Reading challenges shouldn’t make you worry about your reading pace, as long as you enjoy the stories you’re diving into, that’s all that matters, in the end.
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About the Author
Olivia Páez is a Cuban-American girl studying journalism. When she's not writing articles for her classes, you can probably find her devouring a novel or watching a classic film. Along with reading and watching films, she has a hodgepodge of interests. Some of them include writing, sketching, traveling, dressing up as some of her favorite characters, and caring for the environment.
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