How I Started Reading More
Reading has always been a struggle for me to make time for. Though I wholeheartedly believe if you read more, you'll write better, I haven't made the adequate time for that. The month of June was about remedying this facet of my life in a practical way by finding a more financially sound, time efficient, and supportive way to read as much as possible.
These are my tips on how I accomplished that!
READING MORE FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLY: I got a library card.
Receiving a library card, I would say, is one of the best decisions I have made in 2018, by far. I know there are a lot of books I would read right now if I just had them in my hands. But, as it is with any hobby, it is expensive, or I can't justify the purchase. With most libraries now, not only do they have an extensive physical collection, most of them now have contracts with e-book/audiobook apps (like Libby), which allow you to take e-materials for loan. Being able to read the most current young adult literature or expensive instructional materials for school just became a lot more practical now that I know I'm saving hundreds of dollars per year.
There are some other benefits I found to having a library card as well I want to mention apart from its financial perk—first, I find the the library to be a place of calm. I have discovered it is so good for my mental health to be exposed to books and people who love reading, even if I'm not actively interacting with them. I so look forward to my weekly visits, because being at the library is one of the most neutral places in the world. I can't not relax in there. I can't not react positively to walking in those doors. It's very nice to have that constant to look forward to.
Also, if you're like me and respond well to deadlines, having a library card will only make you read more if you force yourself not to renew your loans and just have them back by the deadlines (or if you want to not spend money by paying late fees)! You'll be reading several books every few weeks this way. Just mentally delete the concept of "renewing loans" so it isn't even an possibility. Then, you'll find yourself making time to read before your weekly visit on Fridays and also being financially responsible by being timely.
READING MORE TIME-EFFICIENTLY: I realized in what ways I read the fastest.
It's going to sound bizarre, but even as someone who studied literature and writing in their higher education, I am one of the slowest readers I know. This was one of my major deterrents in reading regularly because I was so downtrodden at my inability to read quickly, I didn't read at all. However, I had to analyze some habits and try the techniques of others on myself.
One of the ways people tend to read faster is through audiobooks. This allows people to read while driving or while doing annoying desk work or chores. I attempted this, and I found audiobooks are not for me. Whilst doing mindless activities, I need music or something I can tune out to, not something which requires 100% of my attention. I know my tendencies when performing chores or what have you; I know I can't give my full attention if I am doing something mundane. This was a realization to me that audiobooks were not an option, so I had to seek other methods.
I have a Kindle and Libby on my for reading e-books. I discovered through trial and error if I make the text larger on these devices, I read faster. This may sound weird, but I do not think I am alone in this. I think the psychology of it is similar to chunking, which allows people to process and remember information more quickly. Being less overwhelmed with a large wall of text allows me to process information more quickly, therefore even though I am tapping the screen/flipping the page more often, I am reading faster; this was measured by the reading times provided to me through these apps. It works.
So, what I have discovered is I read longer novels/books on my Kindle/phone, and shorter books like graphic novels or poetry as a physical copy, (which I get from the library). Of course I will sometimes pick up physical longer books, but I will knowing I will not read it as quickly.
READING MORE SUPPORTIVELY: Have friends who hold you accountable.
I found reading the same books alongside friends is the single best way to make yourself read more. In short, form book clubs and weekly/monthly book discussions. Meet up physically. Meet up through Skype. Or even simply have a group chat. This will not only give you and your friends something more to bond over, it will allow you to think complexly about bookish ideas you wouldn't have considered while simultaneously socializing with your friends. Making time to spend with the people you care about and reading a lot more? Sounds ideal.
I have two mini book clubs running right now (and intend to start a third) in which I read one book per month with each. That's already three books a month I am motivated to read because I have wonderful people to look forward to talk about it with. If you and your friends are responsible and motivated, this is the best option for you. Plus, it forces you to read books you wouldn't have normally picked because everyone may have different tastes. It forces you to explore out of your comfort zone!
For even more pro-tips, you can watch the amazing, lovely, and enthusiastic Ariel Bissett's video on her reading tips! Her tips are different than mine, but just as important. Watching YouTube videos and researching other people's perspectives about their reading journeys will only spark more inspiration on how you need to edit your own to be the most optimal. There are lots of ideas out there. Find what works best for you.
Also, if you want to friend each other on Goodreads, I wouldn't be opposed to read your opinions or see what you love reading at the moment!
Happy reading all! Thanks for looking. Cheers.