I was inspired to write my own blog post about this from Jamie over at Perpetual Page Turner and so I’m going to discuss reading for fun vs not or because you feel guilty for not reading a book. Read Jamie’s post here.
So I think we’ve all be there. If you have a blog or Booktube channel that specifically deals with books, book reviews, hauls, etc, then you’ve probably felt the pressure to keep up with the “competition,” so to speak. Before I started blogging or anything, I barely read anything for fun. I went months and months without reading books for pleasure simply because I didn’t have the time or the desire to. Well, sometimes I’d have the desire to and I still wouldn’t read much. I’d get books, but never read them or only partly.
I did pick up several over the years, but not nearly as much I’ve read in just the last seven months since I started blogging/vlogging. And when I did start reading again I had forgotten what it was like to read so many books and to just allow myself to be engrossed in them.
Now that I’ve been doing this for a while and slowly getting the hang of it, this year in particular I’ve realized that I’m just picking up one book right after another. I always seem to have a current read.
When I first started late last year I kept picking up and buying books simply because, well, I thought that was the right thing to do. I wanted to catch up to those that could read over ten books in a month, where I was only reading maybe two. I tried convincing myself that the amount that I was reading was fine, that I didn’t need to catch up to anyone.
But then that little voice in my head said, “You’re not doing well, Rayna.”
And I believed it. Those first few months were a struggle for me in terms of the reading and blogging world. I felt like I was drowning in a sea of books that I was never going to read because I bought more than I could read in a single month.
Once 2015 came around, though, I think something clicked.
I do set TBRs and goals for myself each month, but as the year has been progressing I’ve been lessening the amounts of books that I set on my TBR, and by this I mean that I’m only picking three or so books that I definitely want to get to for that month, and if I finish them then I have the rest of the month to read (or not read) whatever I want.
And for me, right now, that’s been super freeing.
Just last month I read a total of seven books. Seven! I’ve never, ever read that many in one month and I never thought I would (mind you, I’m talking novels, not comics/manga, which I can read super fast because PICTURES!).
I had only set a goal of four books for last month, so I read an extra three. I think that’s fantastic! I read books that I wanted and I read books where I didn’t have a “set schedule” in which I wanted to read them. I think that it was freeing.
But always having a current read has also been a bit difficult because sometimes I’d want to literally just sit in the world of the book I had just read and bask in it for days and days. I’d force myself to continue on, and I pined for that other world, the characters, everything! If it was the first book in a series, I’d want to immediately pick up the next, and so on.
Sometimes it was because I was reading them so fast, within a day or two, that I just wanted to keep going because I was challenging myself on how many I could read (I’m very competitive against myself).
I don’t regret doing this. I loved continuing on, getting my overall TBR pile down (I still have over 140 books I need to read if I want to get my TBR down to zero anytime soon), and just exploring all of these new worlds and authors as I went.
Personally, setting goals for myself helps immensely for anything, really. If I don’t set a goal, I don’t get anything done. Ever since I discovered Booktube and started my own book blog, I’ve fallen in love with it. Sure, sometimes it feels like a chore, but most of the time I just love sending out my own thoughts about the books I’ve read or the tags I’ve done or the discussions, like this one, that have been on my mind and I’ve wanted to see what others’ opinions were on the topic.
It can be restraining, but I’ve discovered what works for me, and even though it may mean that, right now, I always have a current read, I’m okay with that. As long as I give myself small TBRs, the rest of the time I’m free to decide what I do and don’t want to read.
There’s obviously no right or wrong way about reading. Read as fast or slow as you want, as many books as you want in a given month, day, year. Whatever suits you best. Don’t feel like you have to keep up with someone’s reading schedule when you know you can only handle so much.
Also, don’t get me wrong: I do take breaks from reading. This month I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo, so I’ve been way more focused on writing than reading, and I’ve read three books, all of which weren’t on my TBR. But I also watch Netflix or just browse the Internet or do whatever I want that doesn’t involve reading. I need my down times, too, you know? It’s healthy that way.
What about you? Do you ever feel like you HAVE to have a current read? Has your reading increased since starting a blog/vlog? If you don’t do either of these things, what are your reading habits? Let me know!