I used to read a LOT. I always had my nose in a book, particularly as a kid and then into my thirties. I always read widely, too. Though I would come back to my beloved fantasy, I read mystery, SF, literature, non-fiction – everything.
I know that over the past decade or so, I haven’t been reading consistently. I would go through phases, reading a lot, then not reading for a spell, then reading again. Some of that’s been workshop related. Some of that’s been finding time for reading for fun outside of reading all of my husband’s prodigious output.
Starting in March or so of this year, I just stopped reading books. I kept trying to pick up a book to get myself interested and kept finding myself putting it down not even a quarter of the way through.
It wasn’t the books. It was me. I knew it. Wasn’t sure what to do about it. Figured there was just too much stress in the world and I needed a different escape.
Recently, I went through the top 100 best selling epic fantasy novels on Amazon. I downloaded over twenty samples and started going through them for research.
I found two that really tickled me. (I’ll be leaving book reviews of them out on Bookbub. I’m trying to now do a monthly book review.)
Before, I would only ever start and finish a single book at a time. I find now that as soon as I reach a part that makes me uneasy or I’m struggling with, I just switch over to a different book. Eventually, I go back to the first one and finish it. Or at least that’s been the case the last month or so.
Reading so much has had additional benefits.
You see, I play a lot of stupid games on my phone. There are some mind games that I play, like Sudoku, but I generally only play that in the morning. In the afternoons and evenings, I’m playing stupid match games and connect the dots.
This past week, instead of reaching for my phone, I’ve made myself reach for my kindle reader.
This has had some surprising consequences.
At some point, I believe it was my parents who convinced me that I was lazy. I’m always very quick to label myself as such, particularly any time I take a break.
The reality is that I do a lot of work, and I do work hard. But that label has been difficult to shake.
I came to the realization today that while reading may be “goofing off” – I don’t consider myself lazy when I’m doing it. Reading isn’t work. But it isn’t playing stupid games on my phone either.
I find that since I’ve started reading again, I’m much less hard on myself. The reading has been good for my self-worth.
I may still have a to do list that’s longer than my arm. I’m probably not getting any more done since I’m reading – quite possibly less, because I want that “one more chapter.” But I’m happier. And I think that makes it worth while.
What habits are you trying to change?