To paraphrase ole Jane Austen “It is a truth that is universally acknowledged, that some people just read more books.”
Before I get into this slightly rant-y post (or as I really prefer to think of it as speaking my mind and throwing out a heavy dose of tough love)- if you are easily offended, stop here. Save your time and tears.
To all the rest of you:
1. REPEAT AFTER ME: “Reading is not a competition- it’s an activity that I enjoy- whether I read 1 book or hundreds of books. It’s not about the quantity, it’s about the quality (meaning my enjoyment!)”
Still with me?
I sorta blame Goodreads yearly challenge for some of this. We all (readers) set our goals back in January- when the year is full of fresh promise, newness, and ALLLLLLL the glorious books awaiting- the to- be published, the backlist, the ones already on the shelves, etc. We say “Sure, I can read a book a month/a week/a day.” And then we go about our business. Reading.
Until around halfway- to 3 quarters of the year finished. And that number of books to read for the year, the number that back in January seemed to be so easy to get to- well, it now (more than likely) seems impossible. Or at least a going to get there by the skin of my teeth kind of thing.
Repeat After Me: “It’s just a number. My world will not be over if I don’t make my goal. The world will not explode. Puppies will not be harmed. There will still be cute cat videos on Facebook. It’s just a random number, and it’s ok if I don’t make it/decide to adjust my number.”
Now don’t get me wrong: I GET the personal satisfaction that you get from making the goal (heck, even beating the goal!) I GET IT. As I write this, I’m 15 books away from my goal. I’ll probably make it- but refer to my Repeat After Me if I don’t.
Let’s look at some reasons why you didn’t read as much as you had hoped:
- You had a craptastic year. If it could go wrong, it did.
- You were in a bookish funk. Nothing appealed to you. All the books that people were raving about were just “ehh” to you.
- You wasted a lot of time on social media.
- You had a fantastic year. Got engaged. Planned a wedding. Bought a house. Had a baby. Insert what would count as fantastic for you.
But, if you are REALLY honest with yourself (like REALLLLLLLLLLY honest) you will at least kinda sorta admit that you *ahem* may have spent a bit too much time on Facebook (FOMO and all), or you tweeted more than you should have or the lure of pretty pics on Instagram was your downfall.
So you say- But T, I wasn’t posting that much to (insert fav form of social media). Here’s the thing- it doesn’t matter if you are actively posting or just scrolling through and liking things- social media, if you let it, can be a time suck.
That 10-15 minutes you were going to use to just check out Facebook- 30 or so minutes go by and you are still there. That’s time that you could use for other things. Reading!
And, lean in smart phone users: Each time the phone, dings, rings, chirps, chimes, beeps, or fist bumps does not mean you HAVE to check it. You don’t.
I’m a blogger so I understand that sometimes you are on social media for more business like reasons than personal. Again, I get that. I do.
But if you are constantly checking your social media (for whatever reason) you are missing out. On life. On reading.
What I started doing in the last few months:
- I cut my social media off at a certain time each night. Any tweets, FB messages or Instagram pics can be looked at the next day.
- I silence my phone after a certain time each night.
- I set my alarm (some mornings) to wake me up 15-30 minutes before I need to get up. I lay in bed and read for a few minutes- I can usually get a chapter of reading time in (depending on length of chapter)
- I try to read a chapter or 2 each night before I go to sleep.
Out of all those things- I think the cutting off social media is what has helped me the most in getting more time in for reading (or other things!)
The next time you are tempted to say to yourself (or social media) “Oh I’m not going to make my goal. I can’t read enough. I’m not a fast reader. I’m too busy.”-Ask yourself these things:
- Does it really matter if you meet your reading goal? And by matter I mean- will your world come to an end if you don’t?
- Are you really trying to make time for reading? Some people want to read every day, while others are content to read 1x a week.
- How much time are you spending on social media?
What keeps you from reading as much as you want?
Happy Reading and Bookishly Yours,
T @ Traveling With T