I’ve entered the golden age of reading. I haven’t read this much since I was nursing my first baby (for approximately 2000 minutes per week. Yes, I tracked it in an app. #typeAmama) Truth be told, I’ve had time in the four years that followed (Baby #1 is about to turn five. FIVE!). But I didn’t prioritize it. I prioritized reading to my little bookworms. We read 1000 Books Before Kindergarten– within 5 months. But Mama Bookworm’s reading log was paltry. In the last six months I’ve had a change of heart, and a change of priority. It feels like self care. It feels really good. Perhaps the ideas below will help you with your own reading renaissance– or start you on a reading journey. These tips aren’t so much in finding time but in finding motivation. Read on!
- Bring in some accountability. For me, oddly enough, posting my monthly stack of books read to instagram encourages me! I love having the artificial accountability of knowing I’m going to post on the last day of the month. I feel proud (most months) to share what I’ve completed, what impacted me, and what the duds were. In reality, no one will notice if I forgo a month, but it looms in my mind and that’s enough! You could consider asking a friend to ask you what you’ve been reading lately on a regular basis. Maybe you’ll inspire another reader in the process. Being a model for reading for my kids is heavy on my mind, too. They’re always watching. I’d rather they not see me staring into my phone or computer screen but in the pages of a book. (I’m old fashioned and rarely read ebooks. Gasp!)
- Be ever curating your TBR list. Having a queue of intriguing reads waiting for me is a huge factor. I’ve gone way too long between books in the past because I simply didn’t know what to read next. (It stings a bit to admit that as a librarian!) This happens in many areas of my life– perfection is the enemy of the good. But with a list to draw from, I can pick up whatever is next, give it a try and perhaps meet my next favorite. Or…. this leads me to #3.
- Abandon books that are killing your desire to read. There are times when you’ll need to push through dull or heady content, sure. My advice for when those are “must reads” is to rotate them during your reading hours with books that bring you joy. If it’s not a must read, donate it, return it, pass it on. Bring some Marie Kondo to your reading: keep the tax returns because you have to, but toss that sweater that you’re keeping for no good reason.
- Similarly, read what you love. For a while I felt a sense of obligation to the books that I read. That I *should* be reading certain books that were best sellers or so-and-so kept talking about. This backfired and I ended up reading so slowly that I lost interest and abandoned everything. When I embraced the genres that I love, I read exponentially more. So, if middle grade historical fiction is your thing, go for it! Just an example 😉 And if it is, please read Moon Over Manifest.
- Keep track of your time. Not like the reading timers you may remember from elementary school… actually the opposite. Keep track of the time wasted that COULD have been spent reading. For me, this has meant downloading an app to track the time I spend on my phone. I was completely appalled at the amount of time I spent on my phone– over 3 hours per day when I first began tracking, and 85 pickups! The app I use (Moment- some screen shots below) breaks down the time by app, and of course I quickly saw that the time spent on social media was out of control. So, after a few months of thinking I could manage it myself (I couldn’t), I deleted social media from my phone. I now average about 1/3 of the time spent and number of pickups as I did a few months ago. And BAM! Two extra hours available per day. Instead of scrolling endlessly while the kids are playing, I read.
- Follow readers. I have a handful of friends (and a husband) whose shoulders I love to peer over to see what they’re reading. They inspire me to read more, and they often fuel my TBR list. I also joined a book club with a group of ladies I didn’t know, just to be pushed to read more. (It worked. I’ve read titles and genres I would never have picked up on my own.) I follow bloggers who introduce me to new books. I subscribe to email newsletters that keep me up to date. I read books about reading. I guess you could say I crowdsource my TBR list. They keep me engaged and excited to read more! (Books about reading on my current TBR list: The Uncommon Reader: A Novella; The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry: A Novel; The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend; The Read-Aloud Family; Caught Up In a Story.) My instagram account is @librarianinthehouse if you’d like to follow along.
What are your reading tips? What keeps you reading, for your own, grown up self? What readers do you follow? I’d love to hear! Connect with me in the comments below or on the Facebook page.
PS. If, like me, you struggle with time spent on your phone, this article is wonderful: How I Stopped Checking My Phone and Started Using it With Intention. Following his tips, you’ll have lots of extra reading time 🙂
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