Unless you’re doing an English degree or you’re still at school- Reading is usually done for pleasure, as a hobby and some down time. But as such it can be hard to prioritise and sometimes we can wish we had more time for it! There are of course some easy ways to create a bookworm habit, or to bring reading back into the priorities in your life if it’s slipped away somehow.
As 2016 drew to a close I looked back through my reading diary and realised I had read a total of 11 books that year- which really shocked me. I had always thought of myself as a reader, a bookworm- but graduating university and being at home with three little ones and probably the rise of social media squeezed out the reading time I had once made the space for. (The previous year had been 26 so there was a big jump from one to the other- even though I had two and then three small children during that time!)
I knew that I didn’t want that to be the case- if I was only reading one book a month (or less) on average then something had to change. Part of that happened right then – realising I hadn’t made time for something I usually loved- seeing the affect that was having on my everyday life and wanting it to be different. Reading fiction has always been a way for my mind to rest, to stop thinking about the here and now and enjoy another place, time, adventure. Some simple changes helped me to embrace the bookish life again, and develop that bookworm habit afresh.
I thought about the books I have loved reading the most- and a lot are ones I have read in community, or discussed with others. So the next year I started always reading club – which I knew would mean I would be reading at least one book a month for that. An easy way to feel more committed to reading and also be able to share them with others who are reading them at the same time. (It’s completely free, we just chat in our little Facebook group!)
I used small slots of time, put books in every area of the house instead of just having one on the go that I’d have to locate if I had two minutes quiet. One next to my bed, one downstairs and one on my kindle usually in my bag means I’m rarely without a book to read.
Taking social media off my phone for a week or two at a time means a whole lot less checking out that way and more checking into a book. I might one day regret not having read all the great books in the world- I’m unlikely to wish I’d spent more time on social media.
Spending time in places like the library and bookshop is great if you’re feeling uninspired with what you are reading. It’s fine to just read what you feel like reading- whether it’s chick lit or humour or biographies or anything at all that you fancy. Getting that book open is the first step to opening the next and getting into the habit.
Ditching books that weren’t working really helped- in the past I’ve struggled with feeling like I owe it to an author to finish a book- but sometimes it’s not the right book at the right time (or ever) and that’s okay.
I love re-reading children’s classic books, and reading them aloud to my little ones at bedtime has increased my pages even by just one or two a day. It’s so great to share things like Peter Pan or Little house series with them. Reading something familiar like Harry Potter is so great and nostalgic and fun- it doesn’t have to feel like work!
Keeping track of what I’m reading or have read through the year in a simple journal or on Goodreads is one that I find really satisfying to look back on. You might not realise how much you are already reading – or be shocked into action like I was. Plus you can find friends, make new friends and see what others are reading if you’re still feeling stuck.
A lot of people love using audiobooks as you can listen to them as you’re going about something fairly mindless, like walking, washing up or similar.
Choosing to develop the habit of reading or to work it more regularly into your day or week requires some intentionality but before long you’ll have developed a new bookworm habit, be hooked in a story you can’t put down- and then the effort pays off and you have to work on making sure you have time for your actual life!
Do you have any other easy ways to help you to spend more time reading?