Truthfully? I read a lot over the summers. Over breaks. When school work is not this all-encompassing burden.
But I do read a good amount at school. I’m not as singularly bookish as I used to be, but I’ve never lost my passion for reading (as this blog can attest.) It’s still something I do to relax, or invigorate me. Nowadays, my niche has shifted more towards accommodating those around my age who struggle to fit it in too. I feel like that’s a problem I can help with.
It’s hard, especially as I’ve grown to incorporate more hobbies and changes to my lifestyle. When I’m trying to run and cook for myself and be more in the moment, rather than seeking escapism through fiction. But it’s such a huge part of my life always — and here’s how I keep it up.
The primary issue for me is that when I get stressed out and wrapped up in other areas of my life, I totally drop reading. I’m worried about being social, or doing well in school, or keeping up with student government. I spend so much time scrolling through Instagram and worrying that I’m not doing enough to further myself. And the more time I spend consumed by these problems that will ultimately fix themselves, the less time I spend reading.
That hour I spend aimlessly lying on my couch? Reading time.
When I say “knowing when to detox,” I really mean two things.
- Knowing when to give yourself a break from the hecticness of your daily life. For me, I usually dress up my reading a little bit. If I’m at home, pour a glass of wine and get in a nice hot bath and make a real night out of my read.
- Knowing when to give yourself a break from reading. When you’re forcing it, watch a show instead. Or go hang out with friends. If you feel guilty about not reading, the more conscious you’ll be about the experience and unable to settle into the book. It’s a truth I’ve proven to myself.
Another hard truth I’ve learned is that I cannot use reading as a form of procrastination. The item I’m supposed to do will hang over my head the entire time and I can’t enjoy the experience of settling down with a good book. Reading is a special occasion, so treat it like one.
A lot of the time, I feel guilty for not reading a book I have on my review pile, or one that’s about a topic I’m interested in. I’ll download a fluffy, indulgent romance novel or read a few pages of one book before switching to another.
I’m guilty often of thinking that “reading” means “finishing a book” and that’s not the case at all! If you feel like reading whatever you feel like reading, do it! A lot of people just get tripped up or paralyzed by the idea that they have to read a certain type of book.
I haven’t finished a book while I’ve been in school yet — at least, one that’s not assigned for a class — and I’m trying to train myself not to feel bad about it. Reading twenty pages a day in different books is still reading.
I’m the worst about this. I really am. Rexx or Hannah or somebody will look over while I’m cooking and I’ll be on my phone reading while stirring. If I’m waiting for Traveller, our bus service at W&L, I’ll chip away at a book on my phone if everyone’s involved in other conversations. It’s just a habit that I have.
If everybody’s on their phones anyways, reading is a significantly more productive way to pass a few minutes than scrolling through Instagram (as much as I love that too.) Once you open the app, you’d be surprised by how much you get done.
First of all, bringing a book with me everywhere. Also, knowing when I need to retreat into my head a little bit. (Trying not to be rude about it though.)
Also, people don’t need to be pretentious about formats! An audiobook is still reading too. I’m guilty about being all “oh, I’m only driving five minutes so I shouldn’t put it on” but there are lots of little places in your day that you can fill up with meaningful content. Folding laundry or cooking dinner with nobody around? Try replacing music with a read you’ll get really sucked into.
Sometimes, I do schedule (or just set aside) an afternoon of reading. I will decide that it’s been a while and I just need to sit down and do it.
Once I start reading, it’s hard for me to stop. The same, incidentally, is true about most of the activities that I do, which is why I’m working so hard on being disciplined. Just, read a page. Read three pages. You’ll be surprised by how easy it is to get fifty pages down once you set aside five minutes.
I hope this helps! How do you find reading time?