Having spent 4 years of my life devoted to devouring novels on a weekly basis, it is easy for me to say that I love reading. Transporting myself to a different world without ever having to leave the comfort of my bed has always appealed to me and will be a big part of my life for years to come. However, as I get older and life becomes busier it’s difficult to find the time or energy to sit down and crack open a book. Whenever I do find myself beginning a new novel, my momentum seems to slow down half way through and actually finishing it becomes a trek rather than a journey.
Here are a few things that I’ve learned to help maintain motivation to read:
KEEP IT SHORT
Reading doesn’t have to always mean a 400-page book. It can be a short story or even magazines, as long as what you’re reading is enjoyable. I find it tiring having to stick with a story for too long and so I usually opt for shorter books. That’s not to say I am not finding great content—some of the greatest books have been novellas or even collections of poetry.
Sure, you can opt for reading an anthology of literature or a dense thesis, but where’s the fun in that? How are you expected to stay interested in reading when the content itself isn’t necessarily interesting for the subway ride home? Many people advocate for reading certain books because of their cultural or social significance and while those books my have a great deal of importance, that does not mean they are enjoyable to read. Find something that speaks to you and enjoy it like a nice cup of brewed coffee.
IT’S OKAY TO STOP
I am notorious for stopping mid-way through a book if I don’t like it. Many people find it important to finish the book even if it isn’t exactly what you expected, but that just seems like a waste of time to me. Life is too short to read books that aren’t good. Put down that Game of Thrones you feel obligated to read because of the television show and pick up something better written and easier to follow with the same amount of intrigue.
My past 3 points have advocated to let reading be something fun and easy, however I do think that there’s something important about challenging yourself with the types of books you read or writing style. It’s easy to follow a simple plot-driven story where the characters don’t really change, only their surroundings do, but that doesn’t help you transform as a reader. If I wasn’t forced to read certain books in university, I would have never developed the writing style I have now or grown in the way I have as a person. Stepping outside of your comfort zone is just as important as knowing what you like and sticking to it. Don’t settle for something you hate, but also don’t limit yourself on what you may love in the future.
Any tips you have on staying motivated?