Doing Discussions: What Are Reading Challenges For?

December 27, 2016 Uncategorized 14

Personally, I love setting goals and working towards achievements (in real life and in games), so I have a ton of fun signing up for challenges every year. However, I also find myself wondering what the point of signing up for a bunch of reading challenges is. Personally, I don’t always do the best job keeping up with them throughout the year. I think a compelling reason for making time for them would provide me the motivation I need to do better. Here are a few of the reasons I’ve thought of so far.

  • Interactions with other bloggers – If a challenge host does a good job of putting up link-ups and maybe even hosts some related read-alongs or other events, I’m much more excited to spend time on a challenge.
  • Changing my reading habits – I’d like to use challenges to motivate myself to make changes in my reading habits. So far, I’ve not been very successful at keeping challenges in mind when I choose my reading though. I think this may be because I’m often choosing the new releases that appeal to me the most, regardless of how they fit with my reading goals.
  • Fun! – Of course, there’s no reason you can’t participate in a challenge simply because you enjoy doing so. The only case where I’ve had fun participating in a challenge ifor a reason other than blogger interactions was the Pokemon Go reading challenge hosted by Aentee at Read At Midnight. For me, having to take pictures with Pokemon in them, as well as reading books, added an element of fun. Leveling my Pokemon based on reading specific books also made me more willing to plan my reading around the challenge. It was just a more fun goal for me than reading a list of specific books on their own. This may inspire a reading event hosted hear, so stay tuned for that 🙂

These are the main reasons I see to participate in challenges, so I’m going to be a lot pickier this year about challenges I participate in. I hope by picking only challenges that focus on areas I want to read more in and by picking fewer challenges, I can actually change my habits. I’ll also be looking for challenges that encourage blogger interaction and other fun times. If you have any challenges to recommend that are really fun and interactive, please let me know! I’d also love to hear what makes reading challenges worthwhile to you. What criteria do you use for picking reading challenges? And are their elements of a challenge that make you more likely to actually keep up with the challenge throughout the year?

14 Responses to “Doing Discussions: What Are Reading Challenges For?”

  1. Shay

    I usually look for or make up challenges that help me fill gaps I’ve noticed in my reading. Everything from more more non-fiction, to more Canadian books, to more diverse reads. But fun and socializing are the things that help keep me accountable and engaged.
    Shay recently posted…Top 5 Non-Fiction Reads of 2016My Profile

    • DoingDewey

      I’m trying to start using my challenges more like that. I was joining ones for genres I read a lot of as well, but I found that joining too many challenges made it hard for me to keep up with any of them!

  2. Amanda @ A Bookshelf Monstrosity

    I used to do bunches, but I’ve pretty much given up on reading challenges in the last few years. I get stressed out trying to complete them and then I get into a reading funk. I like to be able to read freely and not feel like I have to check boxes.

    What I do enjoy are blogging events that are once a year like Nonfiction November 🙂
    Amanda @ A Bookshelf Monstrosity recently posted…Books By Theme: If You Liked The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina GeorgeMy Profile

    • DoingDewey

      Sounds like a good plan! I don’t feel like signing up for too many challenges impacts my reading, but that’s bad as well as good. If I’m not going to actually focus on doing the challenges, I’m not sure why I sign up for them! I’m definitely scaling back this year. Shorter events are more my speed too! I find that it’s easier for me to focus on an event for a month or a week than to focus on a challenge for a full year.

  3. KatieMcD @ Bookish Tendencies

    I feel like, for me, challenges SOUND more fun than they are in reality. I just can never seem to keep up, or don’t feel like doing it, and then feel pressured, and then things start to snowball. This past year I had an anti-challenge challenge, and I think that’s going to be my M.O. this year too. I say, you do you, and if you like signing up, then sign up!
    KatieMcD @ Bookish Tendencies recently posted…It’s Monday, December 19th | What Are You Reading?My Profile

    • DoingDewey

      I’m the same way! I’m always so excited to sign up for challenges, but I forget about them pretty quickly. I’m hoping scaling back this year will help with that 🙂 If not, I might adopt your strategy next year.

  4. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

    I keep trying to remind myself that challenges don’t have to be so much about hitting certain numbers, but more about having fun tackling some of my own reading goals in community with others who share them.

    I have tended to get somewhat stressed out in the past over my challenge reading; on the other hand, challenges really helped me to branch out, read more consciously and get out of my comfort zone.

    I’ve enjoyed the Back to the Classics challenge over the past couple of years because the categories give a bit of a fun twist and because a good many of the bloggers I follow are also participating.
    Lory @ Emerald City Book Review recently posted…Reading New England GiveawayMy Profile

    • DoingDewey

      That sounds like a great way to think of it. That’s always my reasoning when I sign up for challenges for genres I already read, but since I rarely make time to visit the other bloggers who link-up reviews, I’m not sure that actually works like that for me. My positives and negatives are almost the opposite of yours – I ignore them too much! Hopefully we can both find some balance 🙂 The Back to the Classics one does seem good. I’ve noticed a lot of bloggers who are doing that one and it seems like the camaraderie would be really nice.

  5. Lisa

    I do most after the fact. I’ve found that posting what I plan to read kills my desire to read it. It becomes an English class assignment! Much more fun to check periodically and. It out as I read thru the year of at year’s end.

    • DoingDewey

      That’s always what I’ve done too! This year, I’m trying to plan a little more, but only a book or two each month. I don’t want it to feel like work either!

  6. Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf

    Fun is the biggie for me! Reading challenges feel like mini-quests to me, if I put it in a gaming environment. 😉 But your first two reasons are high on my radar, too. I tend to only choose challenges where I know I’ll be successful – easy ones that I don’t have to think tooooo much about and before I know it, they’re complete.
    Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf recently posted…Newbery Reading Challenge 2017My Profile

    • DoingDewey

      I participated in a reading challenge were you leveled a pokemon by reading and could also share pictures from the game. It was by far the most fun I’ve had with a reading challenge! Normally, they don’t feel enough like a game to me, but I definitely get that being motivational!

      I’ve been signing up for way too many challenges in previous years and I debated this year whether to switch to only easy ones or only ones that I wanted to use to change what I read. I think there are definitely arguments to be made for both. And in your case, it seems like you already read more diversely than I do, so there might be less reason to push yourself to change!