Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Weekly Reader

I’m a reader and a writer. Or at least that’s how I viewed myself as a teenager. Despite going to school all day, staying on top of homework and studying, then throwing in my long list of after school activities (drama, the honor society, dance classes, volunteer work, etc) I still read like a fiend. Books after books, I was that kid getting in trouble because I was found reading by flashlight three hours after I was supposed to go to bed. I’d read multiple books at a time, all of them stacked on my nightstand and being toted from class to activity. Despite all of this I still managed to have the time to write story after story. It seemed like I was endlessly busy but blissfully happy. See, I like to read. I love it. But once I graduated High School and went to college my intake of books came to a faltering stop.

I was in a new city, I had a very active social life, and I had so much reading to do for my English courses that I didn’t have much time to pleasure read and my time to write had dwindled into nothing. After four years of school I struggled to figure out how to get into the habit of reading again. With work and other things in life I felt like reading, at times, had become a chore.

But it was simple: I had to make reading a daily part of my life. And it’s worked, so long as I keep it in mind, and I’ve been reading more than I used to. If you’re struggling to keep reading here’s some suggestions of times you can work reading into your life and if you stick with it, it can become natural and you’ll find yourself reading more.

  • Make a ritual out of reading:
    • Figure out what time of day is your best time for reading. Do you like reading over a cup of coffee and your breakfast? How about bedtime? Label a specific time of day to be your time of reading; no ifs, ands, or buts.
  • Reading during little breaks:
    • If you are in a waiting room, read a book! 
  • Reading during daily breaks:
    • Have a lunch break? Bring a book with you! If you enjoy reading and it brings you a sense of happiness it's a great way to calm down from the stresses of work and also escape your place of work for a moment or two.
  • Multitask:
    • If you have an e-reader this could be a little easier. If you're at the gym and walking on the treadmill or working on the elliptical you can always read a book. Having an ereader will make it somewhat hands free (just sitting it on the machine) but having a regular book works fine on bike machines!
    • You can also have your e-reader "read" your book for you. Set it to audio and it will read your book aloud while you clean the house. 
    • Order books on tape. That way you can have your book being read in a voice that isn't a computer voice while you drive to work or are on trips. 
  • Now I break this rule myself all the time but it will help you finish more books at a quicker pace: stick to one book at a time.
  • Carry your reading material with you. Whether it's an e-reader, a printed copy, or an audio book always have it with you. That way if you come across a chance to multitask, a break, or a solid chunk of time to get some heavy reading in you can do just that.
  • Choose books that you enjoy. Don't read something only because it's popular. If you're taking classes and have assigned books, chose something you want to read for pleasure to keep on the side. It's always easier to read when you're enjoying yourself. I always had an issue with assigned books. I didn't want to be forced into reading something that I didn't want to read and it always worked against me: I read slowly. 
Happy reading!

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