How I’m Finding Time To Read (and enjoy it!)

My bookworm Mother is so proud.

My Mum is the biggest bookworm I know. She visits the library weekly and her and my Grandma are constantly swapping notes, sharing reads and returning books back for the other one. When we were younger my Mum would take us down there and I’d borrow as many Sweet Valley High books as I could, then would devour them curled up on my chair in my room feeling like I was a mature twenty-something women slicing out some self care time from a busy day, when I was in fact a nine year old who had just got home from school. From GCSE’s and into Sixth Form and University, I associated reading with a different kind of book, and as my mobile became my BFF I’ve put less and less time into digging into a good read.

Something switched whilst we were away over Christmas and as I remembered what it felt like to literally want to do NOTHING aside from pick-up where I’d left off, I made the New Year’s resolution to read a book a month for the year of 2018. We’re currently just over nine weeks into the year and I’ve somehow managed to gobble up five already. A RESOLUTION THAT HAS STUCK LONGER THAN A WEEK!? Well, it’s about bloody time. Here’s how I’ve managed to carve some reading into every single day…

Have books you actually want to read. Well dur – right? However, over the past few years I’ve been terribly guilty of buying a book just because it seemed like the ‘trendy’ thing to do. ‘Everyone’s reading X??, well I must make an Amazon order IMMEDIATELY!’. Sometimes I’ve enjoyed my sheep-lead purchase, but other times they just weren’t for me and I probably knew that before I’d even turned the first page. I’ve realised that what I enjoy reading predominantly is fiction and memoirs of writers or personalities whose work I’m usually already familiar with. I enjoy self-help books too, although those that focus on my passions like organisation and minimal living, instead of deep introspection-required, ‘find yourself’ kind of reads. Having a nightstand bursting of books that I’m actually pretty sure I’m going to like is a motivating move.

GET. MORE. BOOKS. I say ‘get’ because you don’t necessarily have to empty your pockets. Instead borrow books from friends (I tend to pass most of my books along to mates once I’ve finished and tell them to pay it forward once they’re finished too), or sign-up to the local library and max out your borrowing limit. I’ve found that by physically having my next couple of reads already lined up next to my bed, gives me a bit of oomph to actually get through them and move onto the next one. Not in a particularly stressful way, but more in an exciting way. A visual checklist that I’m quite happy to never get to the end of. Before I reach the end of my current read I’m already researching the next, as I know a dry-spell might lure the late night Twitter scrolls back into my life.

Find your pockets of time. This is going to be different for everyone. Some might have kids who wake them up at the crack of dawn and so having a pre-breakfast read is out of the question. Others might have an hour-long train commute to work which is the perfect window to crack down on some reading. It’s a blindingly obvious one, but to actually find time to read, you have to you know – FIND TIME TO READ. For me it’s the classic ‘before bed’ slot that was previously occupied by me cradling my phone close whilst turned down to minimum volume so that I could still hear everyone’s Instagram Stories. Not the most epic use of my time, eh? So instead I now try and take at least 30 minutes before bed as my designated reading slot. However, I’ve been enjoying some of my reads so much that I’ve gone off piste; sometimes having a quick 20 minute power session before I get up and start the day and having a read during my lunchtime baths (Mark is going to FREAK when he sees the water bill, oops). But that slot before bed? Reading time only.

Set yourself a challenge. If I had a penny for every time someone had told me to get a Goodreads account?! WELL. I finally have. I’m still getting my head around the whole thing, but the number one selling point for me (aside from the fact that it’s an easy way for you lot keep tabs on what I’ve read/am currently reading/want to read next), is that you can set yourself a challenge of how many books you’d like to read this year. BINGO. Before I was just keeping a little note of them on my phone, but here you can rate the books once you’ve read them, see what others would recommend to add to your bookshelf next and create a future log too that can easily be plugged into Amazon. It’s pretty genius and along with my resolution to read 12 books this year, I’m also adding in the sub-resolution to keep my new account up to date.

Always have a book on you. As I pondered how I could reach my 2018 reading target, I found myself watching a video made by a 14 year old who had (if I remember correctly) read over 100 books in ONE YEAR. Let that sink in for a minute. She was a child genius and as I noted down her pointers (I actually did), the one that stood out to me was to always keep a book on you. Of course if you’re heading out for a supermarket shop, you can pretty much guarantee that there’s not going to a minute of your time where you could pitch up and cop a read of your latest book in the aisles. However, if you’re heading into town on the bus, are meeting a mate who runs late about 99.5% of the time or are running uncharacteristically early for your workout class – then make sure there’s a book in your bag. You might just get a chance to read it…

Photos by Lauren Shipley

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