I predicted this would happen and made some casual jokes about it. But that did not prepare me for the reality of it happening. I’ve cancelled plans in favor of word count goals, dug frozen meals out from the back of the freezer. And saddest of all – my reading time has been dwindling down to nothing.
I set pretty lofty reading goals for myself, but I have no idea what else to do when there are so many good books in the world and so little time with which to read them. So I’m looking for ways to marry my frenzied reading with my frenzied writing without going completely nuts.
Here are the things that have worked for me so far:
Read as reward
I’ve been rewarding myself chapters for hitting specific word count goals, finishing sprints, or hitting great stopping points. It also gets me away from the computer for a while and my eyes are always grateful for the break.
I like to read first thing when I wake up in the morning. I often wake up earlier than necessary so I can have that quiet time to ease into the day. I drink my coffee and watch the sun come up with a good book.
Now is probably not the time to get really invested in the Russian classics. But it’s a great time to pick up that YA book you’ve wanted to read forever. If you’re in the middle of something a bit heavier, don’t feel guilty about putting it down. It’ll be waiting for you in December. January if you’re editing. Now is the time for guilty pleasure reading if there ever was one.
Instead of just adhering to word count goals, try adding chapter, page count, or article goals if you’re a goal oriented person. You’ll feel wonderful every time you reach the next set of finish lines.
You’re still writing an entire novel in one month, you’re not going to read as much as you would otherwise. This has been one of the harder things to swallow for me, but getting comfortable with the slower pace is key for happy reading. Goals that are too extreme or unattainable will end in stress and frustration, and that’s so not in the spirit of reading.
Reading is the other half of my heart, so keeping up with it is incredibly important to me. I know it makes me a better writer and honestly, a better person. Not reading for me is like not eating, I get grumpy and I’m no fun to be around. Is there a book equivalent of hangry? Bookgry? Readvenous? Still workshopping that one.
Do you have any tips for staying on track with reading goals when life gets crazy and you’ve got a million other things to accomplish? What motivates you to read? Let me know in the comments!
Happy reading and happy writing!
Written by Elle
Elle is a Portland-based writer and founder of The Book Ship Project, an online library connecting readers around the world. When she’s not working you can find her in the kitchen learning to cook while listening to big band and soul music, working on stand-up routines that will probably only ever be performed for friends and family who are obligated to laugh, or out chasing high scores on every pinball machine in sight. She’s always up for conversations about what you’re reading, what you’re watching, and really minute details about Gilmore Girls episodes that everyone else has probably forgotten. Twitter // Instagram // Website