Note to Self: Scrap the Reading Schedule

I knew there was a problem when my breathers became less like breathers and more like homework. (And I need to apologize because this rant is more for me than for you, since I need a way to reason out why I’m not having as much fun as I used to and how I can fix this.)

I started PB because I needed to take breathers, but in the last few months, reading has been becoming more stressful. I started to avoid my books.

It may be because I’ve imposed a blogging schedule, but I think the real reason is that I want to read and review all day everyday. I’m the type of person who likes to make checklists and who loves planners to death, so it’s inevitable that I wanted to fill up my calendar with plans to read books and publish posts everyday. And I was feeling so accomplished and motivated until real life started becoming more time-consuming and I realized that I didn’t have time for all of it!

Then there’s also the pressure from reading ARCs. I swear, NetGalley is one of the best and worst things to happen to me. It pushes me to plan more and schedule more and read MORE and what if I don’t like the book I’m reading? I ditch it for a while to read another book, and I end up with a lot of books I need to finish and a whole lot of stress. My problem is the “need” in that previous sentence; it’s hard to pick out the positive aspects of a book (which I’m trying to do as per my New Year’s resolutions) when I feel like I can’t DNF a book.

That’s when I realized that I’VE BEEN DOING IT WRONG. After reading recent posts by Nikki and Cee and Jamie as well as many others about keeping (or throwing away) reading schedules, I’ve decided that the best way to make reading fun again is to go back to mood reading. This doesn’t mean that I’m scrapping my review schedule though – I’m just changing how OFTEN I read (which will affect how often I post) and WHAT I read, and WHAT I stop reading.

I feel like that’s one of the reasons that book bloggers burn out: reading stops becoming a fun and relaxing pastime, and instead, it becomes that shadow lurking at the back of your mind reminding you of things you left unfinished.

So note to self: you don’t have to review every ARC. You don’t have to finish every damn book. You don’t have to post every week. Scrap the reading schedule. Remember the reasons you read and blog.

(Have you ever avoided your books?
Do you read based on a schedule or based on your mood?)

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19 thoughts on “Note to Self: Scrap the Reading Schedule

  1. haha I admire the fact that you have any organization at all — I’m completely haphazard! Of course, I don’t really do a lot of ARCs – I don’t have an kind of ereader, so I miss out on a lot of freebies/cheap books that way. On the other hand, it means I can DNF whatever I want (although I hate doing that, honestly – it makes me feel like a failure… although casually skimming a book works! :-D)

    • Do you admire my ability to turn my organization skills into a means to procrastinate too? 😛 And omg. Sarah. I don’t have an e-reader either. I read all those ARCs on my computer. (Yes, my eyes are slowly melting away…)

      DNFing makes me feel like a failure too, but that’s a new reaction for me – I’d DNF every other book before I started blogging. Why I feel the need to torture myself through a bad book now, I have no clue… (but yes, book skimming is awesome!!)

      • Oh my friend, organizing is ALWAYS a brilliant way to procrastinate, because you can convince yourself that you aren’t really procrastinating – you’re making yourself MORE EFFICIENT for the future, so you’re going to save time in the long run! It’s fantastic! Lists, charts, schedules, calendars, notebooks – all completely acceptable methods of procrastination. 😀

        And you just blew my mind by saying you do all that reading on your computer! I couldn’t do it! I can barely sit there long enough to read a chapter of intriguing fanfiction, much less an entire novel!

        • YES OMG procrastination station! There’s a reason we’re friends – you’re just so relatable, haha. 😉

          Yeah, that’s why eARCs or ebooks take me forever to read – I can’t stare at my computer screen for that long! That’s another reason I want to cut down on reading ARCs… I don’t want my eyes to suffer so much. (Aaaand you’ve reminded me of several fandom fanfictions I need to catch up on!)

  2. If you know my blog, you probably know that I basically just post when I want to. I will go a whole week without posting and then have a week where I post frequently. I have tried to make myself have a schedule, but then about a day after I realize that it’s just not going to happen. I wish it could happen but it’s just not gonna. Writing reviews and other posts takes effort and I don’t like forcing myself to exert effort when I don’t really want to. Sometimes I just want to look through gifs on tumblr the whole day 😛

    And as for a reading schedule… Yikes. I’m a mood reader and a person who jumps between books like crazy, so that would definitely put a damper on the fun I have taking paper breathers 🙂 (This is another reason why I don’t use Netgalley. I know for sure that I would request ALL THE BOOKS! and then feel extremely pressured and miserable when I realize that I can’t read ALL THE BOOKS!)

    Anyways. I’m glad that you are abandoning the reading schedule… Not that it’s bad to have one, but if you are starting to not have fun with reading because of it, then it’s best to just relax and do what you want to do, so you can start having fun again.

    “Remember the reasons you read and blog.” Oh gosh, I forgot about the reason I blog. It’s totally evil, though, so I can’t really tell you. But yeah, thanks for helping me remember 😀

    • “…I don’t like forcing myself to exert effort when I don’t really want to.” THIS. You are my inspiration. Let’s procrastinate together, all day errday. ❤

      Now I'm surprised that my reading schedule lasted so long, haha. And I'm definitely going on NetGalley less and trying to focus on reading what I want when I want, without that external stimuli. NetGalley is like every food commercial on TV going, "You like? You want? Get me now!" Meh.

      Gasp! I don't believe you can ever be evil, Lesley. 😛 To be honest, I actually only had "read" at first and added the "blog" part afterwards because I forgot about it myself… so my brain is still processing the "blog" part. Work faster, brain!

  3. I’m with you in the mood-reading approach. That goes with my blog too. I can’t write when my mind doesn’t want too. I try to will myself but it just doesn’t work the way I want it to sometimes. I love planners and I use them a lot, especially now that I have to keep track of all the ARCs I get (not too many because I don’t think I can commit so much time for them). I have a few (okay, I have MANY) notebooks too. As much as I tend to use apps to schedule things, I find myself going old-school – with a planner and a pen – always! I’m one of those people who find it hard to do anything I don’t love. I don’t want reading to be a chore so I’m with you – Let’s scrap that reading schedule and enjoy our books!

    • I totally agree about the writing part! Sometimes I stop writing mid-post because I lose focus or I just can’t go on, and I need to take a break and come back to it. I should do that more with books, haha.

      And I’m glad you’re limiting your ARCs; I’ve bitten off more than I can chew myself, and now I’m trying to get through my ARCs and not request for a while because they make up the bulk of my blog-stress, haha. I think old school is the best way to keep track of your schedule – nothing like physically writing down a to-do list!

      Yay, book re-enjoyment party starts now! 😀

  4. I totally get this and felt it a long time ago so I pretty much gave myself more breathing space. I don’t stress much anymore. In fact, I have blank days on my calendar and I’m fine with it so yay. :))

    • I’m slowly coming to terms with those blank days on my calendar, eep! My next goal is to not feel guilty after a week of blankness, haha. I’m glad you’re less stressed now! 😛

    • It definitely drove me nuts, Angie! Lesson learned, haha. I like your week-by-week planning, since I feel that short-term goals are more easy to accomplish than long-term goals. 🙂

  5. I see where you’re coming from, but just like you I also like lists, and agendas and knowing exactly what I’m doing and when. I don’t mind being a bit busy or stressed, I don’t know, I guess I’m weird. But blogging is fun for me, and I don’t think I’ll stop doing it any time soon. Maybe a break here or there, but reading and reviewing is one of my most favorite things to do. I hope things work out for you!

    Lisa
    http://www.turningpages94.blogspot.com

    • Thanks, Lisa! Looks like you can handle stress better than I can, haha. I don’t think I’ll stop blogging any time soon either, but I’m definitely going to post less frequently in order to take a semi-break. I’m still trying to find the right balance between books, blogging, and real life!

  6. I went back to mood reading a couple of months ago. Before, I would create a giant list each month of what I needed to read, and I would only get about six books in before I hit some sort of slump or disinterest. But the mood reading/reading whatever TF I want to has really helped. I’m having a great time over here, just reading anything that catches my eye. Sure, I have quite a few review copies to read, but I’ll get to them when I feel like it. Otherwise I’d end up forcing myself to read them and I wouldn’t enjoy them.

    Mood Readers Unite!

    • YEAH mood readers!!! I did the list thing too, Amber! I have to admit that I still do it to a certain extent, but it’s an improvement from my previous habits, haha. And I totally agree with the way you read review copies – mood reading is the way to go to truly enjoy books. 🙂

  7. I think mood reading is important too. I just have a stack of ten or so books that I consider ‘top priority’ and pick from those throughout the month. And I totally agree about NetGalley – having dates to read certain books by is so stressful!

    • That’s what I’m doing now too, Katherine! I like having less choices to ponder over, since I think looking at all my books at once stresses me out, haha.

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