So if you've followed me for a while, you know I love a reading challenge. For the past two years, I've done the 50/50 Challenge (50 movies and 50 books in a year) and I've kept track of it here and on Pinterest. This year I also did the Dusty Bookshelf Challenge to try to encourage me to read stuff I already own instead of only the new, shiny books I buy.
I like these kinds of challenges because it helps me keep track of what I read (and watch, in the case of the 50/50 challenge) and it pushes me a little. BUT, as I was looking at my list of books I've read this year, I realized I'm very homogenous when it comes to genres. Obviously, I love romance and in particular, erotic romance, New Adult, Young Adult, and m/m romance. That's the bulk of my reading pile. And there's nothing wrong with that. It's what I like to read (and write.)
But I also know that as a writer, I am what I consume. Inspiration is found in the things I expose myself to--movies, books, art, experiences, travel, etc. That's what's going to influence me. And if I'm swimming in the same pool with my reading all the time, I'm missing out on the chance to broaden my influences, to see things in a different way, and to think more outside the box with my writing.
So, I'm creating my own personal reading challenge this year, and I'm inviting you to customize one for yourself and join me. : ) I'm challenging myself to read outside of my boundaries in addition to my favorites. So I made a chart and listed levels of "comfort zones" then I selected genres to put in the boxes. By the end of 2014, I want to X out each of these boxes with at least one book from that particular genre.
As you can see in the chart, I have six rows of "zones": In My Zone, Read on Occasion, A Bit of a Stretch, Pushing It, Out of Comfort Zone, and Just For Fun.
I have 36 genres listed, but feel free to make yours as big as small as you want. Maybe you just want to list one genre in each of the six categories. Or maybe you're a power reader and want to add more than me. Also, know that everyone's chart will look different because what's comfort zone to me is going to be different for you.
But hopefully you can use my chart as a jumping off point.
If you want the chart in Excel so you can edit and plug in your own goals, you can download it here. (I created this in Mac Numbers so there may be some formatting differences. If it shows up as two worksheets, click on the bottom tab that says blank calendar and that will show you the chart.)
So who's with me?
Let me know in the comments if you decide to participate and leave a link to how you're keeping track if you have it (link from your blog, Pinterest, Tumblr, whatever.)
I'll be pinning the books I read and keeping track on my Push Your Boundaries Pinterest Board. If you make your own board feel free to Pin this post on it and remember to leave your link to it in the comments! :)
Some ideas for genres to include (and please add your own suggestions for categories/genres in the comments because I know I've missed some!):
Historical mystery - Romantic Suspense - Made Into A Movie - Urban Fantasy - Dystopian - Memoir/Bio -LGBT - Action/Adventure - Humor - Award Winning - True Crime - Erotic Romance/Erotica - Horror - Gothic - Travel - M/M Romance - Non-Fiction - On Writing - Literary Fiction - Anthology - Translated - Mystery - Historical Fiction - Young Adult - New Adult - Historical Romance - Fantasy - Sci-Fi/Speculative - Thriller - Classic - Banned Book - Re-read From Childhood - Debut Author - First in Series - Middle Grade - Picture Book - Graphic Novel - Book From Your Birth Year - Loved By Others - A 500+ Pager - Audiobook - Second Chance on a DNF - Road Trip Story - Set Outside of the U.S./UK/Canada - Self-Help - A Book That Intimidates You - A Book Written By the Opposite Sex - Inspirational Fiction - Retro Romance (70s-80s) - Paranormal - Women's Fiction - Short Story