5 tips for developing a lasting reading habit
Updated: Aug 24, 2021
Setting aside time to read has not been as much of an issue for me as summoning the patience to sit with a book. Often, especially when I am experimenting with genres, I do not have the will to push past the first few pages. I have to bullishly keep at it until I can not quit the story. There is a concentrated effort at making this habit work, as you can tell.
But for all the ways I have found it difficult to follow a reading list, I have discovered what works for me best so I do not fall out of the game.
If you haven’t read a book in a while and want to get back to reading regularly, might I suggest you start with short stories and essay collections? Like any other muscle in your body, your brain needs to get comfortable with new patterns and rhythms. We do not start off picking the heaviest dumbbells on day one now, do we?
Start with subjects or forms that are easier to get through. When I go through a phase where I have not sincerely read in a while, I start with anthologies or essay collections and slowly build my way up to complex prose.
Pay attention to what works for you
Whenever I am at a bookstore, my primal instinct is to throw myself at the romance aisle. Once that is done, I hunt for contemporary fiction so devastating it could eviscerate my soul. Much in life. Much at a bookstore. One follows the other, you see.
Observe what time of your day works best for reading. Is it on your way to work? Is it before bedtime?
But most importantly, discover what you like reading! What genres do you reach for again and again? Start from there, and then expand. And do not restrict this self-investigation to books. Observe what time of your day works best for reading. Is it on your way to work? Is it before bedtime? Whenever you have the bandwidth available, utilize it and follow through every day.Reading is ultimately a habit. Keep at it for a few days, and soon it becomes something you cannot do without.
Join bookclubs or reading challenges
If you want to take it a notch higher, join the annual Goodreads reading challenge. You can also register to virtual book clubs where readers bond over authors they love, books they read and help keep each other's reading habits in check.
Books are being written for everybody's literary kink. No matter how specific. You only have to come across what sits with you the best. To find your niche, take upon browsing through the Editors' Choice section under "Books" whenever you are surfing Amazon. Or go through any of their literary categories to check what titles are trending. You can also start leafing through reviews of books that interest you. Usually, reviewers leave suggestions as to what you can read next.
But I will say this, before buying books on Amazon, check if those titles are available at your local bookstores.
But I will say this, before buying books on Amazon, check if those titles are available at your local bookstores. As the monopoly of questionable corporations would have it, most booksellers will run out of business, especially during the ongoing pandemic. Granted, it is a bit of an effort, but nothing beats the personal touch of somebody who genuinely cares about stories and their writers.
So visit your local bookstores and help keep the local businesses up and running. You can start with the Walking Book Fairs and Storyteller Bookstore. Browse their catalogues online and inquire if they deliver books to your address. They do for most pin codes!
Another way would be to follow Instagram Book Reviewers and check what books are they hyping and gushing over. Bookstagrammers receive their Advance Reading Copies (ARCs) from the publisher months before the pub date, and they are effective in guiding you to what books to pre-order and authors to consider.
Talk it up!
Visibility matters. Whenever you are through with a book or are starting one, talk it up on your socials. It encourages you to keep up with your reading and helps with the book’s discoverability.
While you are at it, be sure to tag the author and the publisher. A little goes a long way, and it means the world to a writer who probably spent years on that one book.
by Abhivyakti Singh