2019 is my year to read more novels. I need more depth and less social media to feed my creative muse, and reading is my go-to strategy. But I’m a single mom with two jobs, a house, pets, and a high school senior to take care of, so time is at a premium.
I’ve gathered some tips and ideas to make myself do more reading, but I’m looking for additional ideas. So, if you comment with a way you’ve found to fit more reading into your life, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card. And you’ll be helping other busy souls find more time to read.
Most people reading this blog are pretty motivated to read. Nonetheless, we face challenges from even-more-motivating distractions: family members who need us, undone housework, and social media algorithms that manipulate our brains into scrolling our newsfeeds long after it’s stopped being rewarding. We need tools to fight back!
- Set a goal: Last year, I kept track of all the books I read on Goodreads. I set the goal of 52 books, and I made it… barely. Their “one book behind schedule” notices helped me stay on track.
- Research the benefits of reading. Did you know that readers have more empathy, better concentration, and (in the case of romance readers) better love lives? If you find yourself surfing the internet rather than reading a book, google “benefits of reading” and learn about the many more benefits bestowed by reading.
- Influence a child. Modeling is an important way children learn. Kids who grow up surrounded by adults who read are more likely to become readers themselves… a habit that will help them succeed in all areas of their education, not just English class. The stereotypical good parent cooks fabulous family meals and attends every sporting event, but in reality, reading in front of your kids is equally beneficial to them.
Okay, you’re motivated, but how do you find the time to read? Here are a couple of things that have worked for me:
- Schedule it in. Add “reading” to your to-do list and plan to do it at a specific time each day. And be smart about when. Ideally, I’d read at night before bed, but the truth is that by the time I climb into bed, I’m way too sleepy to pick up a book. For me, reading for twenty minutes in the morning keeps me plowing ahead through my current novel and sets the tone for a bookish day. You might find your lunch hour or after dinner works better, but the key is to be consistent about it.
- Audiobooks. Listening is the new reading for the vast number of Americans who commute, work out, or do housework while listening to a book. Audiobooks are often beautifully narrated, and there are deals and packages that make it affordable (Audible’s romance package has a free trial month, for example). Most libraries offer audiobooks to borrow free.
Choose the Right Books, and Dump the Wrong Ones
- Have you ever encountered a “bottleneck book”? It’s the book that you ought to read–you paid good money for it, or it’s supposed to be spiritually uplifting, or your best friend insists you read it–but though you start with good intentions, it just doesn’t grab you. There it sits, making you feel guilty and keeping you from starting the book you really want to read. The solution? Dump it, and carry on with the book you really want to read right now. You can always pick up the bottleneck book later–or give it to someone who’d appreciate it more.
- Be true to yourself: do you really want to read the top 100 classic novels of all time? There are books we feel like we should read, but what really gets me reading a lot is the book that grips me and won’t let go. Occasionally that’s a classic–hello, Jane Austen–but more often, for me, it’s an emotional, intense, relationship-focused contemporary novel in one of the popular genres.
- Read InspyRomance authors! You could easily find a year’s worth of reading just by going down the list of authors who blog on InspyRomance. You can be sure all of these books are spiritual and upbeat, with happy endings. Many of us offer free or inexpensive introductions to our series. So head over to the “books” page and try a new-to-you author.
If you’d like to check out my emotional, angsty-but-upbeat love stories, head over to www.leetobinmcclain.com and sign up for my newsletter. You’ll get a free romance novella as a thank you.
How do you make more time to read? Give the rest of us a good tip in the comments, and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card.