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Revelations of a Completionist Reader

My whole life I’ve considered myself a ‘completionist.’ If I play a video game, I won’t start another until I have 100% completed the one I am currently playing. If I start collecting things I hunt until I have them all. If I start reading a series, I need to finish it whether I enjoy it or not.

Well, not anymore.

It’s been a long time coming, but I think I have finally embraced the DNF. For those not in the know, DNF stands for Did Not Finish and I used to think that was a sign of failure. But over the last few years, I have learned that it’s more of a sign of respect for myself and my time.

I started dabbling in DNFs - before I even knew what it meant - with television. I would be completely enthralled with a show and eagerly await the next episode or season but, eventually, my heart wouldn’t be in it anymore or the writing would go down hill. Not wanting to give up on something I had put so much time into felt like such a waste until that switch just… flipped.

I don’t know when it happened but slowly I started to feel disappointed every time I watched new episodes of those shows I was so obsessed with. I was disappointed in the direction a plot line went or the de-evolution of a character arc that had so much potential. The list could go on. There were plenty of reasons why I started to dread tuning in and so I slowly stopped watching.

The time that I was forcing myself to watch bad television was more of a waste than the time that I spent enjoying the shows.

This has been going on for a few years and the number of shows I follow now are less than a handful. It wasn’t until last year that I realized that this same idea is completely reasonable in the world of books too!

Don’t get me wrong, there is no way that I want to limit my reading. Quite the opposite. I want to read more of what I genuinely enjoy and not force myself to slog through stories that I am no longer invested in.

At the start of the year, I set a goal to work on finishing series that I had previously started and the more I thought about it, the more I found this to be a silly goal for me. There are plenty of series on that list that I felt obligated to finish but I also wasn’t eager to finish them. Some were even ones that I read only the first book of and I didn’t even enjoy it! So why would I push myself to read the rest of a series that I don’t enjoy?

As for those series that I have managed to get fairly far into but am no longer connected to… well, this was harder to come to terms with. But the same idea of the television shows applies where I can enjoy what parts I enjoyed but I ultimately do not have to keep going if I am no longer interested. And hey, I can always pick it back up down the line if that changes again.

So this is me renouncing my completionist ways and deciding to vastly edit my list of series I want to catch up on.

How about you? What are your thoughts on finishing series or DNF’ing in general?

Until next time, keep reading!

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