One of the most effective ways you can do if you want to be able to read more books is to participate in a reading challenge. The Goodreads Reading Challenge is by far the most popular that I know of, but you can participate in any that you prefer. Making it a yearly habit really helps a lot if you want to make reading an actual part of your lifestyle. With that in mind, here are some tips I’ve learned throughout the years that I’ve been doing it.
HAVE A REALISTIC GOAL.
Aim for only what you can achieve. If your lifestyle includes several responsibilities and other important co-curricular activities, a goal of 100 books in a year is simply too ambitious. Start with 20 books. I started with that number, and then I progressively went from that to 25, then 30, and now 35 books.
INCLUDE BOOKS WITH SHORTER LENGTHS.
And don’t shame yourself for it. I totally recommend the Penguin Little Black Classics, I’ve read a few titles from the said collection myself. If you’re only starting out, truth be told, IT by Stephen King may just not be the most ideal book. Extremely long novels like that (Ulysses, cough, Ulysses) really require commitment and those are usually hard to digest in one sitting and would require days on end for you to fully grasp the story.
PICK THOSE YOU TRULY FIND INTERESTING AND WILL MOST LIKELY ENJOY.
You know those books you probably DNF’ed the past years? Don’t put books like those in your list. You want the satisfaction of actually finishing a book that you’ll be able to add on your “Read” list that’ll contribute to your reading goal. So, go with what your heart tells you and pick the books you will truly enjoy.
KEEP A JOURNAL TO TRACK YOUR PROGRESS.
Physically seeing your reading progress contributes to the motivation you need to keep reading. Either you treat your journal as a legitimate tracker with grids and tables, or you simply just jot entries down as you read a certain book to document your insights as you read it—do it. Tried and tested by yours truly, it’s perfectly effective. Also, looking back on the journal after you’ve completed the challenge is seriously the most rewarding feeling ever.
When reading has long been a part of your routine, you sometimes catch that-which-must-not-be-named, a.k.a. the reading slump. For writers, it’s completely similar to a writer’s block. It’s the most awful of all slumps known to mankind, yet it is inevitable. It’s definitely one of those “It’s not you, it’s me” moments and you can totally tell that to your books in the most dramatic way possible.
But it’s okay to take a break from reading if you really don’t feel like it—it happens, breathe. This is something you can’t force yourself to do otherwise you’ll get upset over the book and the author to the point that you just want to bury it or simply, throw it across the room. Binge watch a show on Netflix, resort to music, watch a movie, or treat yourself to a really good meal. It’ll pass. And don’t worry, Mr. Darcy won’t leave your side.