I’m re-approaching my reading habits…
…because we all know what it means when you keep doing the same thing expecting different results.
Many of us have been through a reading slump or two (or 25), but the last year or so has felt different. It wasn’t that I couldn’t find books that interested me. It was more a matter of time and energy–that is, not having either--that made it hard to invest in any books I couldn’t read by ear. (Related: one of the great perks of audiobooks is that almost anyone can read them in the car…even the driver.) My most regular reading-by-eye time was bedtime, and then I was lucky if I could keep my eyes open for more than a few pages (which I might re-read the next night after forgetting them).
Also, for the first time in years, I had no real deadlines to read anything–no review deadlines! no blog tours! no pitches! Without that external motivation, it became surprisingly (and sadly) easy to use time I could have spent reading on other things. I’d spend that before-sleep catching up on email newsletters that had piled up during the workday, and reading links from those emails. Then I’d open my feed reader, weed out the posts I knew I wouldn’t read, and maybe read a few of the posts I spotted while skimming, But I’d probably put the iPad down at that point and pick up my book-in-progress in hopes of getting in those few pages.
Something’s Gotta Give, Something’s Gotta Go
About two weeks ago, I unsubscribed from two of the most active feeds in my reader. The amount and frequency of their posts were causing me to prioritize them over other sources just to keep from getting buried, and I decided I was done with that. I still get email newsletters from one of them and I’ll keep up with their posts that way. I haven’t missed the other one at all, to be honest (and for the record, it wasn’t a book-related blog). This simple act has allowed me to keep my feed reader much more manageable, and that’s been remarkably energizing.
I’ve had a few opportunities this winter to hunker down with a book for a big chunk of time during the weekend. That’s been energizing too, but perhaps more importantly, it’s been inspiring. It’s reminded me how much I like reading that way, and how much more I feel like a READER when I can read that way. I intend to prioritize that a lot better than I’ve been doing while trying not to be sucked into the Book Blogger’s Paradox.
And thanks to this renewed feeling of energy and inspiration, I put six books on library hold last week. Two of them aren’t audiobooks. Some changes come in with baby steps.
If you’ve made any changes in your habits that have made your reading life better, tell me about them!