I don’t know about you, but I feel a hell of a lot of pressure from social media about reading. Partially on Twitter and via people’s blogs, but primarily on Bookstagram.
Now, I love Bookstragram. I love nothing more than aesthetically pleasing photos and finding new books that people are raving about. But I also find it incredibly difficult to stay on the platform. I feel like I’m constantly bombarded with people saying they’ve read multiple books a week, or even a day. And I cannot, for love nor money, take photos that are anywhere near as pleasing as other people’s.
I know that everyone is different, and you should continue to do something because you love it. But I’m also a perfectionist. I can’t help but compare the content I create to other peoples and when it comes to Bookstagram – how awful I am at taking photos.
This isn’t just confined to Bookstagram though – I find myself scrolling through my WordPress reader and seeing people who do weekly wrap-ups, as opposed to the bi-monthly ones I do, and they’ve read loads. And for some reason, this makes me feel like less of a reader compared to others.
When I sit and think about it, I know how ridiculous I sound because everyone who reads is a reader – whether that be a book a day, a book a month, or a book a year. As long as you’re reading – you’re a reader. But it links back to be being a perfectionist and always comparing myself to others.
Another thing I never used to do is re-read books because I always felt like it meant I wasn’t reading. Which, again, sounds completely ridiculous! I’ve recently re-read the ACOTAR series and it felt like I was discovering the world again for the first time which can only ever be a positive thing.
During my undergraduate degree, I barely read any books that I wanted to read. Partially I think this was to do with wanting to concentrate on my degree (whilst also making the most of the uni experience) but partially I think my mental health took a toll at university. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying my university experience was awful and I regret it, some of my favourite memories are from those years. But I stopped doing things that I loved, mainly reading, because I didn’t want to miss out. Looking back, I wish I would have carried on reading whilst at university because I think it would’ve helped with stress around assignments and would’ve forced me to take a step back instead of ploughing on.
In 2020, I tried to make more of a conscious effort to read and it did work in part but, I think as with many others, COVID took a toll on my mental health. When I was furloughed I had all the time in the world to read yet I found myself procrastinating picking up a book. I couldn’t even tell you why I didn’t read, I just found it difficult to motivate myself.
I made the same decision at the start of 2021 to make more of an effort to read. I even went one step further and set myself the challenge of reading every day during January whether it be for a chapter or for an hour. Even though I didn’t read every day, I think I read for 26 out of the 31 days and I felt so proud at the end of the month. And even though I haven’t quite continued to read every day, I have been doing so a lot more. So far, I’ve read 10 books this year which is the most I’ve read in a long time and I’m more determined than ever to carry on and smash my Goodreads goal of 12.
I guess what this rambling post is trying to say is, even though sometimes I feel like I’m not reading enough or as much of a reader as other people – I most definitely am, and I’m learning to be more content with myself. I’m also learning to do what I love more, not to benefit anyone else but myself. I don’t need to read a hundred books to be proud of myself or feel like I’ve achieved something – I just need to be.
Do you feel the pressures from social media when it comes to reading, or even blogging? Somehow, I don’t think I’m the only one who feels these things… Let me know your thoughts in the comments!