As a child, I was an avid reader who often found herself completely lost in the escape that books provided me. Suddenly I blinked: adulthood was here and I realized I couldn't remember the last book I'd read. Seeing how much I had fallen off broke my heart, so I challenged myself to rediscover that little girl who once couldn't live without a book in her lap.
Does this experience sound familiar? Is that something you want to change? If so, here are a few tips for reincorporating reading for leisure into your life.
Create Your "TBR (To Be Read/Want To Read)" List
When you haven't read in a while diving back in can be overwhelming. After all, there are literally millions of books to choose from. I recommend creating a list of books that peak your interest, also known as a "TBR" or "To Be Read" list. You can populate this list based on a number of factors!
Think about the last book you REALLY loved. What about it did you connect with? What elements of the story or writing were your favorite? It's possible the publisher of that book has also published similar work. Is there a book-to-screen adaptation you really enjoyed? You might get a kick out of reading the original books to see how the two compare. Not to mention there are lots of reader communities on apps like Goodreads, Storygraph, TikTok, and more where content creators share their own reading recommendations. Remember - the worst that can happen is you just didn't like it!
Reduce your social media and TV time
When people see how much I read the first thing they ask me is how I find the time. Our lives are now consumed by our constant connection to the internet and all it has to offer. It's easy not to notice how much time that takes up, but if you're serious about reading more it has to involve putting something down.
Whether it's setting app limits on your phone or just choosing not to binge that Netflix series tonight, your reading habit is going to need intention and attention.
Establish A Reading Hour & Daily Page Goals
Something that might help with the previous tip is setting a designated hour each day that's reserved for reading. This could be an hour before bed, the first hour that you're awake, your lunch break, or the first hour after you get home. Whatever feels most realistic to you is what you should aim for. Setting a daily page goal might also be helpful to keep you on track (this can be ANY number of pages that feels doable for you.)
During this hour try to avoid disturbances that could pull you away from your book if possible. Talk to your loved ones about respecting that hour as your "quiet time."
Pro Tip: Create a comfortable reading space for yourself for that hour. This includes where you sit, what you wear, what you're listening to and even what you might be drinking or snacking on. It makes a difference!
Separate Your Reading Device From Your Phone (If Possible)
You're seeing a trend here right? Distractions be distracting! If you realize that reading on your phone causes you to switch between apps too frequently it might be time to opt for a physical book or some other reading device like an iPad or Kindle reader. Personally, I use an iPad that's solely designated for reading and has no other apps on it to avoid distractions. It's a game changer!
Don't Read What You Don't Like (Don't Force-Read Books)
Sometimes books get off to a slow start, but if you find yourself wholly uninterested it's perfectly okay to put a book down and choose something else. Be honest with yourself about the genres you're actually interested in. If you don't like self-help? Don't read self-help.
You are under no obligation to finish a book you started - even if you bought it. You can always gift, thrift or donate a physical book. Forcing yourself to read a book you hate can slow your reading down significantly and turn you off reading altogether. Wondering why that book has been taking you months to read? You probably hate it boo. Be honest.
Don't Try To Recreate The Past Or Read Like Someone Else
We all have heard the term "there's nothing like the feel of a physical book." But how you read a few years ago may not fit within the lifestyle you currently have. Remember that you may not have been employed or may not have had the obligations you currently have. It's okay that you might read slower or in a different format than you have in the past.
There. Is. Nothing. Wrong. With. An. Audiobook.
If you're completely new to reading as a hobby you might also want to avoid comparing yourself to people who do it regularly. Avoid the pressure to compare your reading speed to someone else. There is no finish line you need to catch up to.
Reading for leisure should be something that feels enjoyable. Remember to give yourself grace and be open to all of the possibilities that come with books. Check back for all of our book-themed posts and reading recommendations!