Like most people, I go through seasons where I read a lot and seasons where I don’t touch a book for months. When I’m in the reading phase, I can’t get enough of books. I look forward to those times when I can read. I try to find times to get a page or 5 read. But in the “off” season, I am indifferent to whether or not I read another book at all. Occasionally, I’ll feel guilty over the fact that I have unfinished books staring at me as I scroll through Facebook but usually brush off that feeling. But today, when that feeling hit, it wouldn’t go away. However, the books I have sitting on my nightstand waiting to be finished just didn’t sound appealing. If I were in the habit of reading they probably would. So, in order to finish those, I needed to find a way to get back into the habit of reading and I found one.
It’s okay to leave a book.
Maybe you’ve heard someone say this before, but it’s okay to set a book aside to finish later, or to never finish. Reading is like cleaning. Once you get going it’s easy to keep going because of the momentum. But then you sit down on the couch for “just a minute” to relax. Suddenly, you find yourself tired and unmotivated to get back you and get going. If you have a book you are struggling to get through you are more likely to put it down for “just a minute”. But once you do that, all momentum is lost and you have no desire to pick the book up again. And if you are like me and you feel guilty for wanting to read a different book, you end up stopping reading all together.
Give yourself permission to abandon that book, even if it’s only for you to get through another book and get back into reading. Tell yourself it’s okay to walk away.
Pick a good book.
This is where the trick part comes in. Whenever I struggle to get back into reading, I’m not in the mindset of giving a new book or author a chance yet. I need an “oldie but goodie”, a book I’ve read in the not so recent past and found very easy to get through. Usually it’s a thrilling mystery novel where I’ve forgotten most of the details and can get wrapped up into very easily. Usually, once I start such a book, I can’t put it down so I get through it in just a couple of days, giving me the momentum I need to get back into the reading habit.
A couple of other little tricks
Now that I’ve got my reading legs again, I need to find motivation to keep them exercised as I work through harder books. This is where I find a reading list or challenge quite helpful. Goodreads by Amazon is the perfect app for this. Not only can you create a reading challenge and track your progress, but you also have a place to keep a running list of books you want to read and it’s right on your phone so you can reference it while you are out shopping or when someone asks what you want for Christmas.
The second trick I had been implementing for a bit was not having my phone next to my bed when I wake up in to morning. (I have an actual clock so I can see the time and never need an alarm clock because of early rising kids). By not having the phone near me, I find I have time to wake up with a book or do my Bible reading before I open the door of Facebook to let in all the worries of the world. This also allows me to get out of bed earlier and get my day going rather than get lost down the rabbit hole of social media.
Keep Calm and Read
So before you give up and decide to never read again, let me encourage you to go look for a novel or fiction series that you loved. Read through it. Wake you your reading muscles and the find a way to keep exercising them.
Do you have any reading tricks you find helpful?