Friday, 13 March 2015

Reading Challenges Can Be Good If You Use Them Well

Now that we're closing in on the first quarter of the year being over, I thought there would be no better time than to discuss reading challenges and events, since we're more than likely either going to be crying because all those challenges and resolutions you set yourself in January have been blown to pieces, or you're going to be crossing things off lists and making sure you're track. Lets face it, you are either one or the other, you cannot and will never be both. I personally am more of the latter, as very recently I took a good look at my challenge page and checked up on how well I doing, where I was at and how far I had to go with my challenges, and you know what, I'm pleased that I'm doing well, and confident enough to say that I'm on track, but not everyone is, and that's because they've put way too much pressure on themselves and it's now come back to bite them. You may currently be hating on those challenges - 'why on earth did I choose this challenge?!' - but the truth is simple..

Lets use my reading challenges as an example. I spent a large amount of 2014 saying I would love to read more mythology and dive into different backgrounds behind the myths, and I also said that I'd like to read more Dystopian novels, as that was the genre I read less of when I took a look back, so I set myself challenges that complimented those wants, but I didn't go crazy. At the start of the year, I had 4 unread mythology novels on my shelves, Nobody's Princess, The Goddess Test, The Deep End of the Sea and Sweet Venom, and knew that at some point, I'd be getting around to Everbound and Mortal Gods, which on my count, makes six, so I challenged myself to a minimum of six. It doesn't sound very challenging, I'll grant you that, but why aim for something I may or may not be able to reach? Aiming for what I want, which is also achievable, was much more logical. It's exactly the same reason why when I decided on how many Dystopia's I challenged myself to read, I took into account that fact that I owned over 10 Dystopian novels, and planned to complete both a Dystopia Trilogy and 4 Book Series, which meant that my target of 13 books is very much an achievable aim.

There's No Shame in Having Low Target for a Challenge

Reading Challenges are created to do just that, challenge, but it's up to you exactly how far and seriously you take that challenge. I wanted my challenges to be exciting and encourage me to read more of what I wanted to read, I wanted to read more Mythology and Dystopian novels, so I challenged myself to do just that. I wanted to continue my Commitment to Series, so I arranged for series to include, but I never took it too far, I never gave myself a target I knew I couldn't reach comfortably. The reason so many people fall out of love with challenges or rally against them is because they've pushed themselves too far, knowing fine well that in order to complete the challenge, they might have to go without sleep for a week, or divorce their family in order to make time. Reading Challenges weren't created to fish out the people who are bad at keeping up, and they weren't created in order to show you your weaknesses, they were created to be fun, created to allow you to be more creative with your reading and feel proud once you've completed it. I may or may not complete my challenges by the end of the year, and you know what, if I do, brilliant, if I don't, I'm not going to feel bad or feel as though I've let myself down, because it just means that things came up. Who knows what the year will bring, you might get engaged, or go on holiday, or leave college and get a job, or move out, move house, move country, things may crop up that affect our routine, but if you use your challenges properly, as a way to find new reads, move into different genres, catch up on some reads you missed, then you'll enjoy it so much more.

Reading Challenges can be positive, you've just got to utilise them properly. Take a look at what you decided on in the New Year - did you challenge yourself to do way too much and are starting to think you might not manage? Lower your target, take a look at what you can do and what you want to do, and what will make you happy and change things. Did you decide not to do any challenges but feel tempted by some now you're well into the year? Get involved, take part, but don't strain yourself, think about what you could do in a good year and then take away, things may crop up, and it's easier to over-achieve than it is to not achieve at all. I think Reading Challenges can be great for discussions, great for the community and great for readers, just as long as you don't use and abuse them.

What do you think of Reading Challenges?

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