Today I am coming at you with a discussion post on Keeping Track of our reading. We can track reading in a number of ways from writing it down in a notebook to using Goodreads. But does tracking our reading ever take away from our experience?
I think it can. I hold my hands up high and confess that I have every once in a while become obsessed with statistics. How many books I may have read in comparison to others? Am I keeping up to date with my Goodreads Reading Challenge? All of which makes reading stressful more than the enjoyment it should be. But I’m now getting better at acknowledging that the amount of books I have read in a week, month or even year isn’t bad. Even if I only read one book then that’s an achievement. It’s very easy to fall into a hole of self-doubt when you think; well I only read one book but this other person read 12 so I must not be a real reader? I must not be good enough. And even though it seems a leap from thinking your reading isn’t the same level as someone else’s to you feeling you’re not good enough it is very much linked. Well for me it is.
I used to go onto Goodreads and pick my reading challenge to suit others. If many people were doing 100 books for a year then that’s what I would do because then I would fit in and also I would be at their level but when I didn’t reach it I would feel like a failure?
But that’s not true. If you don’t meet your Reading challenge then that’s ok, every book you read is an achievement.
It’s also very interesting to think about how we now track our reading, remember the days where we would go to the local library and pick up a book simply based off the back and not because of the reviews we read? We also just read because we loved it and now reading has changed. Every page we read we update on a site or as soon as we finish a book we race to write down our thoughts rather than savor it. I do miss those days sometimes.
Tracking can bring along slumps for me, if I am behind on my challenge then I start entering a Reading slump because I feel like I should be reading and with me if I feel like I HAVE to do something then I’m less likely to want to. It’s why TBR’s don’t work for me, because I feel forced.
So do we need to stop tracking what we read?
Essentially, no. Whilst it’s easy to get caught up in the statistics, for me not tracking my reading is something I probably will never not do now. I love to see how much percentage I am through a book, or just to scroll back and see what books I read in a month. Tracking my reading is like a diary for me, I can see the mood I was in from what I read, how much I read and each title reminds me of the moments I sat curled up with that book.
What we do need to do is accept that every book you read is an achievement for yourself. You haven’t read anything this week? That’s fine. Everybody has their down days and everybody has slumps. Some people are naturally what I like to say ‘gifted’, they are able to binge read constantly like 6-7 books a week but I’m not like that. These days i’m lucky to get through one but again it’s about acceptance. Whilst my anxiety likes to play tricks on me and whisper that my reading and blog is a failure when I haven’t read a book that week I remind myself that life is busy. I work full-time and someday’s I just want to rest and not read and think. So I throw myself into the soaps instead rather than my book.
Do I keep track of everything I read?
Not anymore. For me I only ever update my Goodreads with certain books, sometimes I can binge New Adult Romances on my Kindle and I never put them up. There is no particular reason as to why I just never feel like it. I’ve now also developed into not reviewing every single book I read, the pressure surrounding it was getting too much with the amount of reading and attempting to blog I was trying to do in my spare time. So sometimes I only review certain books on Goodreads or I just rate it. Others you will get a Goodreads Review, blog review. The whole shibang.
I hope you liked this post. I find it really interesting to talk about tracking reading especially as we have developed from never tracking to always tracking. Be sure to let me know below your thoughts.
How do you track your reading?
Does it ever feel more like a burden to you? Let me know in the comments what you think.