When I was younger I spent all of my free time reading – as I’m sure a lot of you did as well – but as a college student, it’s difficult to find time to read for fun. School keeps me busy writing and studying, and usually when I do get around to picking up a book, it’s something for class. Unfortunately, even that doesn’t happen as often as it should.
As a result, I’ve found myself in a rut. In the past year I’ve bought dozens of books –added them to my Goodreads shelf and stacked them beside my bed in the order I plan on reading them – but I haven’t opened more than three. It happens to the best of us. (At least, I hope it isn’t just me….)
The thing is, unlike watching endless reruns on The Food Network or HGTV, reading requires attention and brain power. And I don’t know about you, but sometimes after a long day at class or work, the last thing I want to do is think more.
But because I do want to read, I’m going to push through the laziness and just do it. For me, summer is a time of getting things done and enjoying myself, and I don’t know about you, but I intend to make that happen—and if you’re in a similar boat (or even just looking for something to do) I hope you’ll join me.
So my challenge to myself and you this summer is to read a book a week. It may not seem like much of a challenge – and it’s certainly nothing compared to how much I used to read – but if we start this week, we will have read 12 books by the time school starts. Outside of books for class, that’s more than I’ve read in the past year, and I think that’s an accomplishment in and of itself. As for how I’m going to accomplish this challenge, I’m planning to apply two of the most important rules I’ve learned from writing.
Read Every Day
Not reading is a habit, and it has to be broken. The first way to do this is by reading every day. Usually the biggest hurdle in reading is starting, and forcing yourself to move past it can really help. Plus, if you’re at all like me, once you sit down to read, you’re usually captivated enough to keep going for a while.
Read What You Want
Sometimes certain books just aren’t appealing when you sit down to read them. Maybe you’ve forgotten why you chose the book in the first place, or you’re in the mood for a different genre. If you’re not enjoying yourself, try reading something else! I know a lot of people try to force themselves to finish a book, even if they really dislike it, but I’m not one of those people. If I’m reading for fun, I want to have fun. Plus, it’s entirely possible you will enjoy reading that book if you come back to it at another time.
There are also people who will tell you not to read that romance or YA novel you’ve picked out, but if that’s what you like, you should read it and not be ashamed. One of the biggest barriers to reading is thinking that you may be judged for what you’re reading. But if you’re comfortable with your choices, it shouldn’t matter what other people think.
As cliché as it sounds, the only person who can keep you from reading is yourself.