When I was a child, I did nothing but read.
Okay, that’s not quite true. I also danced and went to school and plated with my friends and spent A LOT of time on Neopets. But I also read. A lot.
And then I got older, and somewhere along the way I stopped reading. Not totally, of course. But mostly. Where once I spent evenings lying on my bed, enthralled in a good book, now I spent evenings working on an essay, switching my brain off by watching America’s Next Top Model, or scrolling endlessly through Tumblr.
It wasn’t because I didn’t love reading anymore. I did. When I actually managed to force myself to read, I loved it. I loved the feeling of getting sucked into a new world; of losing hours of my day to the pages of a book (or the screen of my Kindle). No, the reason I stopped reading was because I didn’t have time.
Or rather, I didn’t have the mental capacity to actually spend time reading. My entire life was based around reading for school (and later, university), so when I had some time to myself, the last thing I wanted to do was read. My brain was so overstimulated by academic life, that I didn’t want to spend my down time stimulating it further. I wanted to spend my down time watching Grey’s Anatomy and getting emotionally invested in fictional characters without having to concentrate too hard.[bctt tweet=”‘I stopped reading because reading required too much mental energy'” username=”oawoodward”]
Fast forward to now, and I’ve been out of education for 4 months. And in those four months, I’ve read 13 books – which is more than I managed to read in the entirety of 2015. I’ve rekindled my love for reading again, so today I thought I’d share with you 3 tips for getting back into reading.
1. Take it easy
If you’re looking to get back into reading, you need to go easy on yourself. If you’ve not read a book for six months, chances are you’re going to struggle to make your way through Tess of the D’urbervilles in a week. Pick a book that you know you’re going to enjoy, and that is relatively easy for your reading level.
For me, one of the books that got me back into reading was The Martian. I’d already watched the film, so although I’d never actually read the book, I knew the plot and the characters well enough that it felt comforting. Another good bet is picking a book you’ve read before. Rereading something you already love can be a great way to light the reading fire again.
2. BYOB (Bring Your Own Book!)
If you stopped reading because you’re super busy all the time, it’s unlikely that you’re just miraculously going to find extra hours to spend reading. Instead, you’re more likely to get back into reading by reading in short bursts – grabbing ten or twenty minutes whenever you can.
For me, this means bringing my book (or in my case, Kindle) with me wherever I go. I usually do most of my reading in my lunch break at work, but I’ve also started reading on trains, in particularly long queues, or while I’m waiting for someone to arrive.
Instead of waiting for time to read, you have to look at the time you already have and think about how you could fit reading into it.
3. Accept that maybe reading isn’t your top priority
When I wasn’t reading, I spend a lot of time feeling guilty about not reading – about abandoning a passion of mine that shaped me as a person. But when I stopped to think about it, I realised that that was ridiculous.
I hadn’t abandoned reading; reading had just stopped being my priority in that moment (that moment being about 7 years). Instead, my priority was school and university work. And that was okay. In fact, it was far more important than reading the latest YA novel will ever be. ]
Sometimes, you’ve just got to take the pressure off yourself and trust that you’ll start reading again when reading really becomes important to you. Sometimes, there are more important things in life than burying your nose in a book.
So there you have it – my top tips for getting back into reading. Let me know in the comments how you get back into reading after a break, or how you make time for reading when you’re busy![bctt tweet=”How to Get Back into Reading: Three Top Tips” username=”oawoodward”]