Discussion

I’m Done With Monthly Wrap-Ups and TBRs (and my OCD sucks)

This isn’t as much of a discussion as it is a decision, but I still thought I’d post this under ‘discussion’ because this is a topic we can all talk about, and we all might have various views on.

So what’s happened is, I’m tired. I’m tired and freaked out worried about a ton of things and suffer through mild panic modes where my mind screams at me about a) how much studying I have to do and how much portion is left for my board exams and b) how I’m not really reading a lot. I don’t know what the fuck is happening and how I let things get this way, but I’m just mentally terrified of all the ‘this year will make or break your life’ dialogues which my teachers and random other strangers I don’t care about constantly throw at me, and the thing is. It’s all true. know that this year is probably the most important academic year of my life, because it’s based on this one year that I can get into a good college and because of the fact that I’m aware of this, I’m all the more scared. (And to think that August is coming to an end? Tell me this is a JOKE)

And on top of all this stress : I’m worried about the number of books I’m reading and whether I’m reading enough. And honestly, this worry itself worries me. (Am I crazy? I think I am).

I’ve been noticing for the past few months, that every month I begin my reading pretty stress-free, with a set TBR in my head (which is always practical; I usually don’t make ‘ambitious’ TBRs) and I make my way through the books calmly. Mid-way through the month, something strikes. My mind goes blank, and I look back and realize that I haven’t really read a lot in the first-half of the month. I think about how I’ve been reading steadily, but still haven’t accomplished much. And then, when only the last 10-12 days of the month are remaining, I go berserk. 

I start cramming reading into every nook and cranny of my daily routine, reading between classes, reading while watching tv, reading while talking to someone, reading before sleep even if my eyes are begging me to shut them, and just in general, squeezing a few pages into anywhere that I can. Since studying takes up a majority of the day, reading never gets enough priority and thus I have to end up squeezing books into any time that I can find. I start keeping goals, and set page numbers (or percentages, if on my kindle) to complete on a particular day. I start scheduling what to read and when to read and how much to read and all this for two reasons which are as useless as the p in psychology : 1) I hate to have less than 6 book on my monthly wrap-up and 2) I hate having a book only half-read at the end of the month; I have this crazy need to complete the books that I’m reading before the last date of the month because OCD sucks.

And today, while watching TV (and reading, invariably) – an epiphany struck me. [So, a little back story : I have four books that I’m currently reading, and all of those books can be finished within the 31st of August if I stick to the plan I have. That is, I’ve literally assigned page numbers (for the physical book), percentage (for the kindle books) and number of minutes (for the audiobook) to be read per day and since I’ve been following this schedule for about 6 days now, I’m right on track and if I follow this mental crazy schedule of mine, I’ll easily complete all the four books within the end of the month.]

So today while watching TV, I was reading Cress. Now, Cress is the book which I take to school and read only in school (and my per day page TBR is 50 pages) but today I didn’t read in school because my friends just did not let me read and even I wasn’t feeling like it so I thought chuck it. While coming back home, I felt guilty. For not having read those 50 pages, and thinking that I’d have to go home and read up those 50 pages because otherwise I’ll be behind. So I came back home, had lunch and then started watching Masterchef (that’s the only thing I watch on TV) and today that too I couldn’t do properly because I was reading those goddamn 50 pages. (Yeah that’s my level of OCD; you can be surprised or amused).

And in the amidst of all that : it struck me. I HATE DOING THIS.

I hate treating reading like a chore, or a task.  I hate scheduling page numbers like this because it is foolish and stupid and doesn’t really count as ‘reading’. I know that attaching such things to reading makes it a task, or a compulsion, and that steals the essence of the book completely. But what to do, I have this weird obsession with completing books before the month ends and read at least 6 books a month. But today while reading Cress I realized that I hated it. Not the book (the book is amazing) but this whole ‘compulsion’ attached to it.

Last night I was reading Six of Crows and my eyes were nearly drooping and I was really tired (coz school) and in spite of my tiredness, I didn’t stop reading because I had to read a certain minimum percentage of the book. And here too, the book is amazing but I couldn’t enjoy the process of reading because of this weird obsession.

There are conflicting demands in me. At one side, I don’t want to compulsively read anything; I want to enjoy and take pleasure in reading but at the same time, I have these stupid compulsions and you know what? The first step I have to fight this stupidity is to stop doing wrap-ups altogether.

Now, I’m in no way saying that doing wrap-ups are wrong. I’m just saying that I need to stop doing wrap-ups because it’s just detrimental to my reading. For the rest of 2016, I’m not going to be doing any more wrap-ups. (You can see the books I read through my reviews). I’ll wrap up the books I read in these five months (August-December) after the end of this year. This way, no compulsion, no obligation. I want to read what I want, when I want, and how much I want. I want to keep away a book after reading one sentence, without constant worries plaguing me about how I’ve not read enough.

Even though I’ve decided not to do wrap-ups, my mind still doesn’t feel at peace. I still feel strangely helpless, and I can only hope that with time, this gets better! After this year, 2017 onwards, I’ll stay away from books for the first three months because my boards are from mid-Feb to March and I’d rather not read in that excessively stressful period. After boards, I’ll decide what to do, but I doubt I’ll get back to doing monthly wrap-ups. I’ll just wrap up every 5 books that I read, regardless of the time I read them.

As for TBR, I don’t have any reason for stop doing these, but since I’m anyway not doing a wrap-up, doing a TBR doesn’t really make sense. So I’m giving up those too. (Tho ofc I’ll keep doing occasional TBRs like TBR for the summer, or TBR for a readathon etc.)


So that was it for my discussion. I’m sorry if I bored you, or plagued you with excessive weirdness, but I just had to get this out. I’m so glad I did.

Have you ever felt pressurized into reading? Do you like doing monthly wrap-ups and TBRs? Share your thoughts!
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13 thoughts on “I’m Done With Monthly Wrap-Ups and TBRs (and my OCD sucks)

  1. Ah I understand this completely. I had a little bit of this last year but quickly realized, “this is supposed to be a hobby. So what if I don’t post 30 reviews in month?” There are times when I’m just not in a mood to read but in a mood to do something else. Since I’m someone who’s very much swayed by my moods I find myself much happier when I read when I’m in the mood to. It’s upsetting that you’re unable to fully enjoy Cress and Six of Crows because they’re both amazing novels! Definitely don’t pressure yourself into reading if it doesn’t become fun anymore.

    Also, I know EVERYONE is telling you that whatever college you go to is the end all be all, but it’s really not. I think it’s ridiculous having young people like yourself dictate how the rest of your life is going to be depending on what school you go to. If you aren’t sure what you would like to pursue or what school you want to go to with clear intention, I suggest taking a gap year or going to community college. Figure yourself out. There’s much more room to grow.

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    1. Exactly. Even I’m very moody and I’d rather read only when I’m in the mood for it. It’s just that lately I’ve been agonized about not reading enough books in a month due to which reading, which is a hobby and a passion, has become stressful. Which sucks.
      I do know that Cress and Six of Crows are amazing (tbh, whatever I’ve read till now of both the books is really, really good) but it’s just that while I’m reading, I’m constantly checking how much I’ve read, what time is it, and mentally thinking about the things I have to study. And that just kills the enjoyment.
      I just really think that people shouldn’t attach so much stress to this year. As it is, students in 12th grade are matured enough to understand the gravity of this situation, and we don’t need further stressors, and the pace at which this year is passing by is astonishing.
      I’m actually very sure about what I want to do later on. I want to graduate in Economics the take up either mass media or an MBA. I have a particular college I want to get into and options and back-ups ready too. But the stress of performing well is crazy. That’s basically it. And the thing with me is, I do have parents and teachers whose expectations I have to live up to, but at the same time, I myself expect nothing less than great results from myself. Maybe it’s the way I’ve been brought up, where there’s always been high stress on marks, but to myself too, marks matter a lot.
      And the thing is that this studies stress is there, but along with me, lakhs of other students are also going through this. What I can’t deal with is the reading stress. Which basically led to this decision.
      (I’m sorry for boring you with this long reply I guess I just needed to vent.)

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      1. Ah no, girl I’m here to listen haha. That’s really good that you’re sure. You’re like among the minority. Like I said, don’t try to feel to stressed about reading. Just remember it is first and foremost a hobby! It should be something that relaxes rather than stresses, so my advice is to just remember that. I get stressed about it too (especially when I have ARCS to review ack), but I have to constantly remind myself that it’s a hobby and it shouldn’t rule my life like study and work does 😊

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  2. With everything else going on, it makes sense that you can’t read as much as you normally would. That said, consider a lightened tbr list for the month. Something you think could do no problem at all (maybe just two books, for example) then set a bonus list of books to tackle if you find yourself at the end of the list with time to spare. It’ll give you a psychological boost of being more productive in these busy times. Reading should be about the enjoyment of it, not pushing for an arbitrary number that will take away from the experience.

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    1. Yes exactly. I need to keep a light TBR. But tbh, I usually anyway keep a TBR of just 4-5 books per month and I most often can manage about 4 books easily. But the thing is, as the end of the month approaches, I feel guilty for not having read more than those 4 books and worrying about not having enough on my wrap up. So thus I decided to completely stop doing them.

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  3. Sorry about all the stress! I agree junior/senior years are kind of important for college applications, but I think people overstate it. If your transcripts from freshman and sophomore years are good, you just want to stay consistent. Don’t suddenly fail everything, but don’t feel like you need to have A+ stamped all over the place. :) If your previous two years were not so great grade-wise, then, sure, the end of high school is a good chance to pick it up so you can tell colleges “I know I didn’t do well freshman year for X reasons, but I have made a commitment to improving.” But I don’t know many people who have been in that situation.

    I also agree with the commenter above about the stress over which colleges are “better.” Personally, I think the research shows that if you get into a top, top ranked school like Harvard, you should go. However, the acceptance rates for those schools are low and often have nothing to do with you personally or how “smart” you are. Otherwise, just go to a school with solid academics that you like and which offers decent financial aid. Depending on what you want to do as a career, school “reputation” is kind of pointless. I know people who are middle school teachers who went to expensive private schools (decently ranked, but not exactly the top ones), and many of them feel they would have been better off going to a state college that was more affordable. The local middle school just cares that you have a teaching certification, not that you went to Yale.

    I stopped doing monthly recaps, as well. They’re a decent amount of work to put together and I think very few people even read them. I also need to be a mood reader/poster with blogging because it is very stressful to have a schedule for everything in your life, even your hobbies.

    Good luck with everything!

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    1. Thank you! I’ll try my best to cope with the stress and I hope that going into a ‘good’ college is not AS important as everyone is making it out to be. Moreover , study stress I can deal with. But all this excessive readings stress is pointless.
      Thanks again:)

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  4. I completely understand. Sometimes you just have to let things go in order to not drive yourself insane, and if writing down a monthly summary of how many books you’ve read adds to the stress, you should definitely skip it! It’s a relatively common problem that bloggers need to remind ourselves that blogging is supposed to be fun!

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