Today’s post is a discussion one where I’ll be talking about my recent reflections on changing the way I approach reading 📖
You can read my previous discussion post How Subjective is the Reading Experience? here and links to previous discussion posts are at the end of this post.
2022 hasn’t been the best reading year for me, I’ve spent most of it forcing myself to read instead of reading for pleasure 😩 But now that I’ve officially finished my masters degree 🎓, I’ve been able to dedicate some time to reflecting on why I’ve been so deflated with reading recently.
I started to seriously read in 2020, and during that time book content creators were a huge inspiration that helped me get back into reading and shaped how I approached reading. But now I’ve realised that the initial model I developed for reading simply doesn’t work for me anymore 🤯
In principle, I’ve always believed that reading should be first and foremost about enjoyment and enrichment, but I’ve been prioritising metrics and quantifying every aspect of my reading experience to the detriment of everything else.
I have a spreadsheet that’s full of graphs 📊 that track how many books I’ve read each month, how many pages I’ve read, what genres I’ve been reading, publication date, the book format (paperback, hardback, ebook etc.), star ratings, the authors gender and the list continues. In some ways, having these insights helps me to manage my reading, to track trends and formulate methods for choosing the next book I should read, but it also hinders my enjoyment of reading.
As much as I get gratification from my reading spreadsheet, quantifying my reading in this way has detracted from my ability to critically engage with and enjoy books in the way I want to.
When I read a book, instead of focusing on reading and enjoying a book in the present, I’m hung up on the fact that I’m 5 books behind my yearly reading goal or that the book is 800 pages and is going to take me longer to read which will impact my numbers
This obsession with metrics has led me to shirk books I really want to read in favour of shorter books, to blast through books quicker than my natural reading pace to tick them off the list, to listen to audiobooks on x2 speed when I’m busy or distracted and unable to actually take in what I’m reading.
I know that I’m not the only reader that suffers from this. In a community where we’re bombarded with monthly wrap ups consisting of 10 books or more, it’s easy to feel inadequate. As creators, there’s also pressure to read as many books as possible to have more material to make new and interesting content. With all of this in mind, it’s not surprising that reading becomes so focused on metrics.
With this in mind, I’ve decided to take a step back from metrics to focus on reconnecting to my authentic love for books 📚
This means being more mindful about the books I choose to read and how I read them. I’m going to prioritise the books I want to read and read them at my natural pace no matter how slow or fast that may be.
My main reading goal from now on will be to find enjoyment, enrichment and contentment in the books I’m reading ☺️
Have you fallen into the same trap of prioritising metrics with reading? Have you felt the pressure of reading more to the detriment of your enjoyment of reading? Share in the comments, I’d love to hear from you on whether you have similar experiences.
Stay safe, my lovelies and keep reading.