Some of you may have seen my post from last week about my 2017 writing goals. In that was a 25 book reading challenge for the course of the year. You may have decided to take it with me, or perhaps you’ve always wanted to make your own. That’s why I’m writing today! Let’s talk about how to come up with your own challenge.
There are a lot of challenges out there for you to follow, but sometimes you’ll come across one you know you’ll dread doing or it doesn’t align with your personal preferences/beliefs. I’ve been snagged on that. There’s going to be a couple of ways you can make your own challenge, and I hope to inspire you with ideas through this post. First, though, let’s talk about what a reading—or book challenge—actually is.
What am I even talking about?
A reading/book challenge is a list of reading goals for you to accomplish. The purpose is to get you reading different kinds of books (i.e. “A book that has a blue cover” is one of mine). There are a number of different challenges, some ranging from lower numbers like 15 and going all the way up to 100!
I went with 25 for this year. It’s a safe challenge that gives me roughly 2 weeks to read each book. I can read a book in just a couple days usually (one day if I’m being really lazy at home) but I’m busy and things can prevent me from reading as much as I’d like. We’ll see about next year…
As far as I know, there aren’t any “set” rules. None that I’ve stumbled across. That’s why I’ve listed my own rules as a general guideline, and ones that I believe most readers are following the same way.
Here are my deemed rules for a reading challenge:
- You must complete every listed task
- One book cannot count for more than one task
- No cheating or lying (meaning you skip pages, say you read something but didn’t, etc.)
- Tasks do not have to be completed in the specified order
The last rule is something I stumbled over in 2016. That’s why I think, for my own sake, I feel it’s all right to complete them in any given order; as long as they’re all completed! Of course, if you want to give yourself a bigger challenge you can follow them in their listed order. You decide.
That’s basically it! You can always set a prize for yourself at the end, or simply enjoy the satisfied feeling of having accomplished something stupendously enjoyable. Plus, you’ve probably acquired some new books along the way so that’s sort of a collective prize over time.
I’ll be honest. I hadn’t ever heard of a reading challenge, outside of the ones the library gave you as a kid, until last year. Yep, that’s right. Generally I just read whatever I feel like, but I’ve found that doesn’t always work so well to get literature in front of me.
I tend to get busy, distracted, and set on working on so many things that I forget to read for months on end at times. I’m either a reading machine and no one can stop me, or I’m basically from a lost tribe deep in a jungle who thinks, what is reading?
Last year I discovered a 2016 reading challenge on Pinterest. It made me really excited and inspired me quite a bit. As I went along, though, I found it didn’t really help me to keep going because 1). I wasn’t sure what I was doing, and 2). I didn’t like all the listed challenges.
This year I set out to make my own, and I’m finding my levels of motivation are much more heightened. Now, let’s move on to talking about making your very own challenge!
Challenge Type 1: Mix and Match
This is the type I went with for this year. Here are the steps I took in making a Mix and Match Challenge:
- Look reading challenges up on Pinterest
- Make a big list of all tasks I like/know I will want to accomplish
- Narrow those down to ones that I deem the most creative/challenging
- Pick 25 of them to do this year
My list started off pretty long. At first I thought there would be no way I could do this! Then, I narrowed it down a little because some of the challenges were too plain or just not quite what I wanted this year. From that I compiled my top 25, and thus my list was created.
You can find challenges from previous years, as well as ones being started for this year, on Pinterest or by looking them up online. You will not be lacking!
Challenge Type 2: Brainstorm it
This is what I want to do next year. Basically, you sit down and write out your own tasks. From those you can narrow them down, adjust, or downright veto what you’ve come up with. Make it creative and out of the box; don’t pick all the basic things.
Here’s some ideas of types of challenge goals to create:
- Anything to do with color
- Specific characteristics from a book
- Types of characters in it
- Fiction or non-fiction
- Movie adaptions
- Poetry, short stories, screenplays
- Year published
- Already read
I hope you’re going to join me in doing a reading challenge this year. Whether you do mine, someone else’s, or create your own it’s a lot of fun. As writers it is important to practice your craft, but it’s also important to get to know it. The best thing you can do, as I’m sure you’ve all heard a hundred times, is to read. Read, read, read, then write until you forget how much time has gone by.
How about you? Any tips or ideas on how to create a reading challenge? Want to share the challenge you made? Comment below and let us know!