In college my major was very reading intensive. As a Literary Journalism student, I didn’t study traditional textbooks. Instead we focused on long-form articles and non-fiction books. At a minimum, I read at least one book a week. Not to mention countless articles, journals, and critiques. I did this all while reporting and writing stories, completing coursework, interning, working a part-time job, and commuting. My point being, when it was required, I made time to read. I was lucky to love what I was reading too. College was such a positive experience for me, that I never wanted to skip my reading assignments like other students. That period in my life was one where I felt fulfilled, less anxious, creatively inspired, and was more active. A few months ago I realized I was seriously hurting myself by not making more time to read. I was surprised how much of a difference a few small changes to my routine made. Before I knew it, I went from reading a couple books a year to a couple a month. This is how I made reading a priority in my life.
Jacqueline DeMarco is a freelance writer and marketing consultant based in Orange County, CA. She loves working with lifestyle publications and brands to create content that is engaging, educational, and entertaining. Outside of her work, Jacqueline is passionate about animal rights, traveling, and reading women-penned memoirs.
I Gathered The Troops
If you build it, they will come, right? When I have a good book in my hands, it’s hard for me to put it down. But out of sight out of mind. I realized that I needed a stockpile of new books to get excited about, so I hit Amazon and ordered a variety of books. Some fiction, some non-fiction, some short, some long. Having a stockpile meant that once I finished a book I could easily jump into another while I was still in the mood.
I Don’t Kill Time on My Phone
When reflecting on my college days, I remembered that whenever I had an appointment of any kind I would bring a book or flashcards with me to read or study while waiting. It was such a productive way to pass long wait times. I know from years of experience that my OBGYN will always keep me waiting. When a baby’s coming, it’s coming. Last time I had an appointment at his office, I had a brand new book waiting to be read, but I figured I could answer emails on my phone instead. Well that took a total of ten minutes and next thing you know, I’m sitting and flipping through a tabloid for half an hour. I was kicking myself for not bringing my book. Lesson learned. If you tally up all the time you spend waiting for your car to be serviced, your hairstylist to finish the client ahead of you, and for your takeout order to be ready, you’ll probably have a decent amount of reading time on your hands. This concept applies to those 20 minutes before you go to sleep too.
I Got Techy
There are many book worms who will scoff at the mere mention of an e-reader. I am not one of them. I have a basic Amazon Kindle I got years ago for $30 on Black Friday and it has been my top tool for success in my quest to read more. The night before I embarked on a two week vacation, I realized I did not have nearly enough reading material to get me through countless hours of international travel and jetlagged nights spent staring at the ceiling. Within ten minutes I had downloaded new books and academic papers to read. Ok and a movie or two. As all my reading material was digital, I was able to save a lot of room in my carry-on bag and thanks to the lit up screen, I could read while my seatmates were sleeping without turning on that horrible little overhead light. I’ll admit, nothing compares to getting cozy with a good paperback, but technology has its perks.
I Surround Myself With Enthusiasm For Reading
Have you ever finished a book and felt like you’ll burst if you don’t get to talk about that plot twist in the middle or the devastating ending? It’s such a good feeling, unless you can’t find the outlet you’re looking for. Which is why I’ve surrounded myself with people who are just as excited about the same books as me. Not only have I honed in on my friends who like to read similar books, but I’ve embraced digital communities as well. The High Low is a weekly news and culture podcast hosted by two female journalist, Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes, and one of the reasons I love their podcast so much is because they are both avid readers who suggest the best books and articles to read. Another podcast worth a listen if you love non-fiction as much as I do, is the Longform podcast. They interview non-fiction longform authors on their work and I always listen to the interviews that correspond with books I just read for extra insight on the author, their story, and their writing process. Girls at Library is an amazing online journal that interviews authors and other brilliant women on what they’re reading and poses thoughtful questions about literature. I’m hoping to make it to one of their IRL events soon. Of course, keeping up an active profile on Goodreads is a great way to share your thoughts on what you’re reading and find great new recommendations.
Don’t Judge Yourself
If you get more enjoyment out of the latest Nicholas Spark’s novel than anything in William Faulkner’s collection, then that’s what you should be reading. I get it, I’m not the world’s biggest Faulkner fan either. It’s easy to succumb to academic pressure to be reading certain books, but if you aren’t passionate about what you’re reading, what’s the point? I for one have read just as much Edith Wharton in these past few months as I have of the Outlander series (my ultimate guilty pleasure). So cut yourself some slack and embrace the books that keep you wanting more.