One of the fundamental things a writer should do is read. Reading’s always been a pleasure to me, but lately I’ve been having trouble finding the time.
Here are some ways I thought up to get more reading into my day:
- Take a book along wherever you go. Bus rides are obvious places, but there are others too, where you might suddenly find yourself with ten minutes and nothing to do. Don’t waste it staring into a wall. Have a book ready.
- Make sure you’re reading quality material. Not just any old book that happened to walk your way but something that is really going to have an impact on you. Something that is so good, you’ll make the time.
- Skip the newspaper. Grab a book instead. Tim Ferriss suggests in his book “Four Hour Workweek” that reading the news is not that important since if something is big enough, you’ll hear about it anyway. I’m not sure if I’m 100% agreed on that, since I’ve always found that I get a lot from newspapers but this is all about priorities. Which is more important right now? Maybe you can compromise, too. Five minutes for the headlines, ten minutes for the book.
- Make reading seem more like the important task that it is by having a notebook where you jot down all the things you admire in the text. You will profit a lot by doing this. Dissect the book. Take it apart at the seams. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve read, of which I only remember that they were brilliant, but can’t really tell why.
- Get some poetry delivered to your e-mail daily using one of the many services available on-line. Reading poems is faster than reading fiction. At its best, a poem is like a condensed novel. I’ve subscribed to a few and will maybe review them in some later post.
- Use CoachMe or other such service to make reading part of your daily ritual. If you make a definite goal of finding a half-hour of uninterrupted reading time every day, you’re more likely to actually do it. Even better if you make yourself accountable for it.
- Make reading as pleasant as possible. Get a nice armchair and a wool blanket to curl under. Go to a coffee shop and order a hot chocolate.
- Make a list of the books you want to read. I’ve sometimes ended up reading suboptimal material during holidays since I didn’t have any particular title in mind.
- Don’t be afraid to stop reading if you feel like you’re wasting your time with that particular book. For a long time I thought I should finish the book, since I’d started it. Now I’ve realized it’s unfair on all the brilliant books I haven’t got time to read to waste my time on something I don’t even particularly like. However, don’t exaggerate the above point. The first two pages might not be enough to show you which book is worth reading. If after the first 50-100 pages you’re still struggling, just let it go. You did your best.
- My favorite. Read in bed before lights out. It’s also good for relaxing to that drowsy, perfect sleep state.