One of my goals for 2021 was to get more into reading again. I have always liked reading but over the past few years I have fallen off the reading wagon. Its horrible because I know that to be a good writer, you have to be a good reader too…or at least try to be. Its not that I dont like books. I love them. But I find myself stalling out half way through a book even if I love it. In search of ways to inspire myself to read, I tried to find out what some of the most well known readers suggest doing.
- Don’t set super lofty goals: And even if you do, its okay if you fall off the wagon for a week. Things happen and its going to be okay if you didn’t get a chance to read because your kid is home sick or because you have an emergency. If you do fall off the wagon, its completely fine to just start again just like with any other habit. Nothing bad is going to happen.
2. Read Variety: This was one of the most helpful things that I have heard yet. Have a few different kinds of books going at once, not just that big, fat 900 page Stephen King novel. Have that, a book of poetry, some short stories, even a graphic novel going all at once. Our brains want that spike of serotonin that we get when we check a book off the list and finishing those shorter books just drives your will to keep going with your more lofty ambitions. Sometimes you might not want to read that deep drive history book and might need something breezy and chill.
3. Vary Your Platforms: We all like the feel of the pages of a book, the weight of it in your hands…its something so euphoric and nostalgic for most of it that it can’t be replaced. But there are a lot of different ways to read now. I love my kindle and having it on my phone and am addicted to audible because it enables me to read at any point which will lead to the next point. There is no shame in digital books or audio books and there is nothing inherently better about just having them on your phone.
4. Make time: We tend to think that we have to have this special time for reading. A time devoid of all distractions with a big arm chair and the perfect cup of coffee. How often does that perfect time ever really come though? When you have books across all platforms, it becomes so much easier to read or listen to books anywhere. I listen to them on my runs, have them going on headphones when I’m in the supermarket, listen to them in the car and have them on my phone and one in my bag at lunch. Dedicating time when you are comminuting is something that you are going to have to do anyway every day so that 20 minute drive too and from work? It suddenly becomes 40 minutes of listening to your book.
5. Keep a list: I love Goodreads but having a list in the back of my journal is a huge help too. It really gives you a sense of accomplishment to check a book off a list as complete. Sometimes too its great to “Share” on a site like Goodreads too to help with motivation and finding new things to read.
Most of all, reading should be fun. Read things that you like! Really enjoy your books and your reading. If you don’t enjoy it then there is no point in doing it!