I Will No Longer Let The Goodreads Challenge Pressure Me

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

I hadn't paid much attention to my Goodreads in a couple of weeks, but when I got back from vacation, I decided to check on my Goodreads challenge. For the first time in ever, I was 10 books behind on my challenge. Now, I know this may not seem like such a big deal to anyone else, but I have never been behind on my Goodreads challenges, and it's something that has been a source of mini-pride for me. So seeing that comment under my goal really frustrated and upset me, even more so because I am not doing other challenges this year. Is that irrational? Maybe, but it got me thinking.

Every year, I set my goal to 200 books, but I end up adjusting that number because I find myself hitting the goals around July or so. In the past 6 years, I've read between 240-280 books annually, and I know that this year I'm barely going to hit 200 books. I'm not quite sure what has changed between the previous years and this year. I've always been busy with school, but I've carved out time to read before bed. Have I become a slower reader? Potentially. I also find that I'm not always excited to pick up a book and wind up doing something else instead, like watching an old episode of a favorite TV show.

After I was done brooding about my low read count, I kept thinking about how much pressure we put on ourselves as book bloggers. And for what reason? I can't quite grasp why so many of us feel pressured to read as many books as we can in a year, to constantly compare ourselves to our fellow bloggers who seem to be reading 300+ books annually and in a way, finding ourselves in this weird competitive environment that we subject ourselves to. Honestly, life and reading, in particular, were so much simpler before I began blogging. I picked up the books that I wanted to read, not what was wildly popular in the online community. And I did it whenever I felt like it. I never forced myself to read everything and anything in a rush to have a bunch of mediocre reads and reviews.

I'd like to think that in my nearly 7 years of blogging, I have grown and matured as a blogger. In many ways, I have. I'm much more selective about the books I request on galley sites. I don't get upset when I don't get an anticipated review book. I know when to say no to authors. I'm no longer afraid to DNF a book nor am I worried about what the author might think of my negative review. I've quit obsessing and putting so much of my self-worth on blog stats - this used to be the bane of my existence. So, yes, I have changed in what I believe are positive ways.

Obviously though, in some other ways, I'm still that competitive blogger I was when I first began. However, this whole Goodreads challenge dilemma made me realize that I don't want to be the kind of blogger. It's just an unnecessary source of stress and life is stressful as it is. At the end of the day, regardless of how many books we read, we are all still readers. No one is better or worse for reading a book a year or 500 books a year. As long as we like reading, we are readers.

In the end, I wound up lowering my Goodreads goal to 150, a goal I'm optimistic I'll achieve. Next year, however, I'm thinking of joining some of my fellow bloggers who set their challenges to 1 book a year. That's 100% a goal I can reach. I don't envision myself quitting blogging in the near future so I feel like this is a small way I can make myself an enthusiastic, but most importantly, a happy reader and blogger.

Do you similarly feel the pressure when it comes to blogging or the Goodreads challenge? Do you compare yourself to others? How do you deal with the negative feelings?
Let me know in the comments below!

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