At the beginning of this year, I was determined to read up to a maximum of 30 to 35 books. I couldn’t get much reading done in the last year, and so I made a resolution that 2020 would be an improvement. It was easy in the start; I read about two to three books in a month and enjoyed all of them thoroughly. But as months passed, the pace at which I read slowed down until I was faced with a big reader’s block. I noticed that I wasn’t paying attention to what I was reading, and was reading just to meet my expectations of hitting my target which sucked the pleasure of the hobby that I enjoyed previously.
Here are a few steps or tips that helped me get over my reader’s block, and fully enjoy the pleasure of reading:
1. Read at your own leisurely pace:
Do not put too pressure on yourself to finish reading a book within a set time. This will only irritate you, and would make the habit of reading less pleasurable. Instead take your time with a book, relax and just thoroughly enjoy what you’re reading. Take breaks in between if you find yourself losing focus on what you are reading. Every time I find myself losing focus and having to re-read a paragraph over again, I take a quick break where I scroll through my phone. I get back to reading when I feel like I’m able to focus better now.
Different people read at different paces. Don’t compare yourself to other readers, and pick a pace that you are most comfortable with. It might also help to keep in mind that this is still a hobby, and so enjoy the reading process.
2. Have a reading buddy or partner
Find a friend who loves to read as much as you do so that you can motivate each other to read. You can give each other suggestion of books to read, can borrow and lend books. The rewarding part of this practice is getting to discuss the book with someone once done reading. It would like your very own small version of a book club.
3. Read a genre you like
When faced with a reader’s block, you could always try reading a book from a genre you like or prefer. This familiarity might keep you interested, and will ease you into getting back into the practice of reading. You can try something new once this difficult reader’s block is lifted.
4. Read a different book if stuck
There are times when we stuck on one book. Every time we sit down to reading that book, we find ourselves not being able to get through even two pages. In such situations, it might help to set this book aside and try something else. A few months ago I was stuck while reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. I read about two fourth of the book, but couldn’t focus after. After a few days of trying, I set it aside and started reading another book. I found this to be helpful because the reader’s block was lifted.
You could always come back to the book later when you feel ready to read it.
5. Find a comfortable reading nook
Make yourself comfortable in a cozy little nook anywhere in your house or wherever you are. It might work better if the space is as free from distractions as possible. Having a separate reading nook could also possibly create a mind space for reading when at that physical space. Personally I like to curl in my sofa chair to read, as reading on my bed would tempt me to fall asleep.
6. Note down or mark the lines of the book that you like
Sometimes you read lines from a book that feel like the author has projected your thoughts in written form. I consider finding these lines to be one of the most aesthetic experiences of reading books. You can make small markings against those lines that you find beautiful. If you are particular about avoiding markings in your book, you could quickly jot it down in a book or type it onto your phone. You can revisit these lines whenever you feel like reading them again.
7. Make a list of the books you read
If you still want to challenge yourself to read a given number of books within a set time, you could always make a list. You could always use Good Reads to do this, or you could simply make a list somewhere easily accessible like on your phone.
After every book I read, I take a photo of the book against nice backgrounds and post it on my Instagram story along with lines that I like from that book. I add these to a 2020 reads highlight and this is how I keep track of the books I read. You could try any fun way of doing this, and it will help you keep track of your progress.
Reading is a beautiful and rewarding hobby to take up. It has even shown to prevent cognitive decline, reduce stress, fights depression symptoms, aids in sleep, strengthens the brain and increases empathy. So just relax and have fun while doing it because there are no rules to doing it right. Happy reading!