BLOGTOBER Day 12: Tips for reading more

I read a lot. I’ve read over 200 books this year already (admittedly I was on maternity leave until the middle of February and then on furlough during lockdown between March and July, so this is better than it would have been in a normal year!) and I’m ahead of target to hit my Goodreads goal of 240 books.

With that in mind, I thought that today I’d share some hints and tips on how to read more. Some of these might seem pretty obvious, but when people ask me how I read so much these are the first suggestions I make. Hopefully they’ll help you to fit a little bit more reading into your life.

1. Prioritise reading

I know I’m not alone in saying I want to read and then getting waylaid by other things. The world is a distracting place, especially during the hellfire that is 2020. It’s easy to get sucked into a vortex of terrible news and Twitter threads (aka reading arguments between strangers) and waste your entire day away.

However, when you’re choosing ways to fill your leisure time, start prioritising reading above anything else. Rather than scrolling on Twitter, flicking through Netflix or looking at beautiful Bookstagram posts, put your phone down and turn the TV off and force yourself to pick up a book.

It’s guaranteed that the first few times you do this your mind will wander and you’ll struggle to get through even a few pages, but the more you do it the more natural it will seem and the easier it’ll be to get swept up in a story.

2. Read with your cohabiter

I read aloud to Sean and it means I get a lot more books read a year than I would otherwise. If you have a cohabiter (a parent, sibling, roommate, partner, anyone!) who is interested in the same books as you, instead of reading separately and discussing them together try reading them together instead! You’ll notice that instead of watching TV or chatting, if a book is gripping you both won’t be able to resist picking it up. Sometimes that’s all the motivation you need to carry on with the story.

Alternatively, if you aren’t enjoying a book but the person you’re reading with is loving it, their enthusiasm might redeem the story for you. I think this is one of the reasons I’ve finally been brave enough to attempt huge adult fantasy series.

3. Read little and often

Because I read out loud to Sean, it’s hard for me to read as many books by myself as I would like to. That means that when I get a little bit of time to myself, I squeeze in as much reading as I can.

I mostly read on the Kindle app on my phone, so I read on the walk to work (if you do this, be careful when crossing roads and don’t bump into anyone!), but I also read on the toilet, while brushing my teeth and when trying to fall asleep at night. Some people don’t like reading before bed because it keeps them awake, and this can be a problem if a book is really gripping. However, if I’m in the first half of a book and things are moving slowly then a couple of chapters can be all I need to drift off.

If you read for five minutes a few times a day you’ll notice that you’re getting through books much quicker than you’d expect, and when you eventually sit down to do a chunk of reading you’ll fly through!

4. Try different formats

When my grandad first gave me my Kindle, I hated it. I am a fidgety reader, always subconsciously turning the pages before I get to the end of the page or running my fingers over embossing or shiny bits on the covers. I didn’t realise I was a fidgety reader until I got my Kindle, and it made it so hard to go back to reading physical books that I didn’t read for a few months in some kind of mental protest!

However, when I joined NetGalley I learnt to love eBooks and now I’m a massive fan. If you’ve only ever read physical books, try downloading the Kindle app on your phone. Then if you ever get restless during the day and feel like loading up Facebook or playing a bit of Pokemon Go, instead you can click on the Kindle app and get a bit of reading done.

This is probably also true for audiobook listeners. I’ve tried audiobooks a couple of times and have never been able to get into them properly – my brain just can’t concentrate and I blank out for swathes at a time and lose track of the story – but if you are a very aural person then an audiobook will be ideal for you. It also might make reading on the way to work a bit safer.

5. Set yourself reading goals

This one can backfire, so be lenient with yourself to start.

I find that a great way to motivate myself to read more is to set myself little reading goals each day. This might be something simple like finishing the book that I’m reading, or it might be more complex: if we have a few books on the go at once I might set targets for each one and skip between them when I achieve each goal.

A good way to start with goals is to realistically think about your reading patterns. If you normally read for an hour in the morning, your reading goal could be to also read for an hour in the evening. If you’re someone who reads 50 pages a day, try to up it to 75 – that way you’re reading 3 days worth of pages in 2 days so it’ll take you 1/3 less time to read that book!

However, the major focus needs to be on making them realistic. If you normally read 10 pages a day and suddenly aim for 100, then you’re not going to manage to succeed and you’re going to be disheartened. It’s much better to aim to read 25 pages and accidentally read 100 than the other way around.

Those are my top tips for reading more. I do have a couple of other ideas so might do a sequel to this post later in the month – let me know if that would be something you’d find helpful, or if you think these tips will help you in any way!

See you tomorrow,