Perhaps you’ve been there. The children are hungry for dinner. The laundry heaps on the bedroom floor are waiting for a fold. Your friends’ texts remain unopened. But you only have six chapters left in that book you’ve been anticipating for months.
If that describes you, then you have an unhealthy book/life balance. If you don’t correct this immediately, you’ll wind up naming your cat something like Mrs. Bennet, buying t-shirts with cute bookish phrases on them, and comparing all men to an Archer, Porter, or Callahan brother.
But never fear! I have twenty tips to help you find a healthy balance between your real life and your fictional life.
- Utilize the bookmark. You know… that one your kid made in preschool ten years ago. Dig that out and use it to pause your reading until tomorrow.
- Avoid the library. If the temptation to stop in is too high, take a different route.
- Keep your To-Be-Read stack under three books. Your bedside table and your wallet will thank you.
- Limit yourself to one chapter a day. Imagine how peaceful you’ll be knowing you don’t have to solve the mystery, discover the secret, or read a kissing scene that same day and exhaust yourself.
- Don’t read after 8 pm, or you’ll risk dreaming all night.
- Don’t read before noon, or you’ll risk daydreaming all day.
- Unfollow all authors on social media. If you don’t know when their book is releasing, you can’t camp out at your local independent bookstore to get it first.
- Just say no to street teams.
- When someone offers you a book suggestion, politely reply “No, thank you. I’m watching what I read.”
- Avoid finding new authors to read, lest you’re tempted to read their entire backlist.
- Doubly avoid debut authors. They are just getting started and might provide you with decades of new tempting stories. It’s one thing to choose a book over your children. It’s a whole ’nother thing to choose one over your grandchildren!
- Imagine the hero in the romance novel looks like your old Geometry teacher. Do you really want to read about him kissing anyone?
- Steer clear of reader blogs like InspyRomance, reader groups like Janine Rosche’s Reader Gathering, and book clubs like The Love | Wander | Read Book Club. The last thing you need is peer pressure to read the dangerous new books out there.
- Avoid sales. If you buy the $50 hardback library binding of a book instead of the $1.99 ebook, you’ll own less and read less.
- Have real conversations with your husband instead of fictional ones with your book husband.
- Actually go to that social gathering instead of faking sick to stay home and read.
- If tempted to ask someone what their favorite book is, find a more boring topic of conversation such as “Does Chris Hemsworth look better with short hair or long hair?”
- If someone asks you what your favorite book is, curtly reply Goodnight Moon and end the conversation.
- When you love a book—really LOVE a book—keep silent. You don’t want to leave a review or share about it on social media. That would only encourage the author to write more books.
- Skip the book and just watch the movie. It takes less time, and it’s probably better anyway.