Breaking Into Books is an ongoing series I post every other Sunday with tips and advice for new readers. Last time, I shared tips for finding genres that you’ll love and today I’ll be discussing how to establish a good reading routine 📚
Reading is like exercise. When you’re out of practice, it’s difficult to get started and you might be super pumped in the beginning but then the motivation tapers off quickly and your enthusiasm dwindles. But with perseverance and a good routine you can seamlessly integrate reading into your daily life. Routine is probably one of the most important aspects of becoming a regular reader. There’s no right or wrong way to establish a reading routine, but there’s a few questions to take into consideration when creating a reading routine which will help you to set yourself up for success: when, where, how and why are you going to read?
WHEN are you going to read?
Your existing schedule and commitments will probably dictate when you can read. Personally, I read everyday but that might not be realistic for some of you that have extra busy lives, so you may want to set aside a few hours in your week or month for reading. It doesn’t really matter how often you’re reading, the most important thing is to be consistent. By that I don’t mean that you need to read at the exact same time every single day/week, but that you’re regularly devoting time to reading. Set a goal and stick to it. For example, if you’re going to read three times a week it doesn’t matter what day or time you do it, but try to stick to your main goal of reading three times in that week.
Consider when you’re least busy and can squeeze in some reading time. Even if it’s only 10 minutes, it still counts! For most people, the ideal time is going to be right before bed. But for others, it might be during your lunch break at work or when your child is having a nap or you’re going for your daily walk. There are so many savvy and effortless ways to fit reading into your day. Here are some of the times/activities in my day that I use to get a chunk of reading done:
- The commute to work
- Getting ready in the morning
- Lunch break
Some people are night owls, others are morning people, so that will also influence when the best time is for you to read. I’ve personally found that I have a better reading experience in the morning because I’m more awake and able to absorb what I’m reading better than when I’m tired right before bed. Remember that WHEN you read can effect comprehension, focus and your overall reading experience, so try reading at different times and see what suits you best.
WHERE are you going to read?
This is something I didn’t even consider when I started reading again, but boy, let me tell you – where you read makes one hell of a difference to your reading experience. Reading can be a tedious task and it’s easy to get distracted by discomfort, your surroundings, tired eyes and what’s going on in your head. Being in a comfortable, distraction-free environment with the right lighting means that you can become fully immersed in what you’re reading and have a more fun reading experience. For me, nothing beats sitting in an armchair with my earphones to read. When I read in bed, I find that one second I’m too hot so I’m throwing the covers off, then I’m too cold so I’m pulling the covers back on, then I’m tossing and turning to find a comfortable position, I’m dropping the book onto my face and it all becomes a bit of a palava that ends with very little reading actually getting done 😂
Don’t be afraid to switch it up and have lots of desginated reading spaces at home and in public. Having multiple spaces to read in can really help with “reading fatigue”. It’s rare that I can sit in one spot and read for more than an hour because I grow restless and/or tired. Changing location helps to refresh and re-energise so that I can keep reading. Outdoor spaces can be particularly great for this. There’s nothing quite like sitting in the garden for half an hour with a book, the sunshine blaring down on you 🥰☀️
HOW are you going to read?
Now this one probably sounds like an odd question, but what it means is how are you going to access books and which format are you going to read them in. HOW you’re reading – whether it’s via physical books (paperback or hardback), ebooks or audiobooks and whether it’s by borrowing from the library, purchasing or using subscription services – will impact the WHEN and WHERE of your reading routine. For example, audiobooks are going to give you the flexibility to read when you’re doing chores or driving or cooking, but a physical book is probably going to pose some problems 😂
Similarly, the source of where you’re getting your books from will also impact your reading routine. If you’re borrowing books from the library, you may have to place reservations and wait weeks for a book to become available, you’ll also have to read it within a certain time-frame (7-14 days). If you’re purchasing books, you’ll be able to get any book at the touch of a button and have freedom to read at your own pace. If you’re using subscription services, there may be restrictions on access to certain books or formats of books. Essentially, how you’re acquiring the books you read will have an impact on your reading routine and needs to be factored in.
WHY are you going to read?
The WHEN, WHERE and HOW is going to help you to plan your routine, but the WHY is going to help you actually stick to your routine. Everybody that reads, reads with a purpose and the reason why you’re reading is going to be what motivates you to establish and stick to your reading routine. You can create the most detailed reading schedule ever but if you lose sight of WHY you want to read, you’ll lack motivation and won’t maintain your routine long-term.
Write down a few goals you want to achieve or reaons why you’re reading. It could be to learn something new about a specific topic, to diversify your language, to find a character you relate to or to read a classic – it can be literally anything! Writing down the reasons you want to read will help you to focus on the value of reading for your personal enjoyment and development, which will mean you’re be more likely to actively want to read on the days/times that you set aside for reading.
Once you’ve answered these four questions – WHEN, WHERE, HOW and WHY you’re going to read – you’ll hopefully be in the perfect position to establish a reading routine that works for you and also have a list of reasons why you want to read to motivate you to stick to the routine long-term. The important thing to remember, is what I said at the start: reading is like exercise. Our brains are muscles just like our bodies and if you haven’t read before or have had a long break from reading, it will be difficult to maintain the routine at first but the more you practice and exercise the muscle, the easier it becomes. At first, I found it really hard to read everyday, but after a few months I realised that I couldn’t go a day without reading because my day felt weird and incomplete without it. Now, most days I pick up a book without even thinking. The moment I have a spare second in my day my brain automatically screams, “READING TIME!” 😂
Stay safe, my lovelies and keep reading.