Real Talk is an original feature here at Girl in the Pages where I’ll discuss random things that come across my mind in an honest and sometimes spontaneous manner. It may be about books, blogging, life, or anything else!
The beginning of the year is always a wonderful time for readers and bloggers, because it’s full of new resolutions, reading challenge sign ups, and setting the ever-popular Goodreads goal. I myself always get caught up in the “new-year-new-me” flurry, and this year have set my Goodreads goal higher than ever before at 80 books (though I’m hoping to really make it to 100 or close to it). However despite all of my optimistic goal setting, when it comes time to actually step away from my blog and READ, more often than not I get consumed by an overwhelming guilt. Guilt for idling the time away with a book when there are chores to do, errands to run, pets to attend to, etc. That’s not even counting the BLOG guilt- when I’m reading there’s always the nagging at the back of my mind that’s worrying about finding the time to develop new content, respond to comments, check out other blogs, and of course, knowing this will add another book to my “to-review” pile. I can usually ignore these thoughts for about 40 minutes or so before I begin to feel so bogged down by them that I force myself to attend to one of the many action items I feel I should be doing, which ultimately cuts into my reading time- on a weekend where I could probably get several hours in, I am lucky to squeeze in 30 or so minutes.
What I find interesting is that I don’t feel this guilt when engaging in other hobbies. Whether I’m watching TV or working on my blog, I don’t feel as worried about the other looming tasks I should be doing. I’m not constantly doing a cost-benefit analysis in my head about if I can really afford to be spending the time enjoying myself. I think a lot of this stems from the way society views reading, since it’s such a solitary, quiet act- so many times I’ve bee interrupted by others when I’m reading when I doubt I’d ever be interrupted by anyone else, because I’m “just reading.” Even if I’m reading while on the elliptical or treadmill at the gym, I’m much more likely to be interrupted or talked to than if I’m listening to music or watching TV (so I’ve now taken to wearing headphones while I read while exercising even if I’m not listening to music).
I recognize that a lot of this guilt is mostly me just feeling overwhelmed by everything constantly going on in my life and reading feels more like its solely “me time” than other passive activities that I may engage in with others (such as watching tv, gaming, etc). I struggle a lot with relaxing and sometimes downtime is almost stressful for me because I get so into a go-go-go adrenaline fueled mindset that I forget how to easily relax (whenever I take a vacation from work it usually takes me 2-3 days before I’m truly able to get into that “vacation” mode). However, I just thought I’d throw my feelings of reading guilt out there to see if anyone else experienced it too! It’s something I hope to work on in 2018, especially after reading Madalyn’s post about how to read more, as one of her tips is to set aside intentional time for reading so you can read more efficiently than just a few pages every day!
Do you feel guilty when you take time out of your day solely just to read? Do you find that people are more likely to interrupt you when you’re reading than they are when you’re participating in other hobbies? Do you feel guilty when you’re reading that you should be blogging and vice versa? Let me know in the comments!