The book community is constantly growing and I frequently see many people ask questions like ‘How can I read more?’, ‘How do you read so much?’, or simple statements from others about the pressure we can begin to feel just by being part of the community. Pressures of not reading fast enough, widely enough and getting into a horrendous reading slump and not feeling adequate enough. So I thought, let’s actually have a chat about our relationship with reading, and how to make sure you have a healthy one.
I’ve recently been able to make peace with reading and I think I’ve managed to create a healthy relationship with reading as a hobby AND as a source of content for my platforms. So let’s get into my tips & tricks!
Make Small ACHIEVABLE Milestones As You Read
I guess you could say this tip is to mostly help your reading experience. I’ve found that when I’m reading, making small milestones as I read has greatly improved the experience for me. I’ll grab a tab and pop it at the 20 page or 50-page mark and aim to get to it on a daily basis. I might not finish a book but I have a small goal to get to a certain page.
I don’t know about you, but something that was always intimidating was how time-consuming and thick even average books are. So creating these mini-milestones as I read made me feel more aware of my progress as I read – almost like a buddy read but with yourself.
DNF Without The Guilt
I feel like this is still controversial somehow in the community because as readers, we tend to feel pressured to finish a book. Yes, it is super satisfying to finish a book but if you’re not enjoying it, if you are HATING this book, why are you torturing yourself? STOP.
I don’t think we should ever feel guilt for DNFing a book. I used to do force myself to finish books constantly because I wanted to give the author a fair go by reading the entire novel but…if you think about it, you’re already giving the story/author a go by starting the book in the first place. There are many reasons other bloggers and people in general DNF a book and this should be normalised. Why feel guilty for continuing to read a book you don’t like?
Believe it or not, but I have even DNFed books when I have been on a blog tour or it was a review ARC/finished copy – it’s as simple as telling the publisher, your editor (shoutout to Elise, my amazing editor from The Nerd Daily) or blog tour host; sorry but I’m not enjoying it, I don’t want to keep reading. Blog tours and such should always take into account that the hosts might not like or enjoy the book enough to finish it – but that also doesn’t mean that they can’t promote it for the tour either (without a negative review). Even on NetGalley, explain that you DNFed the book and why.
A lot of the time, publishers seek publicity from content creators purely for brand awareness; people seeing the book everywhere around the publishing date. You can contribute more than just a book review for a blog tour or otherwise and I hope that this becomes more mainstream in the community. I could write a whole post about promoting a book through playlists, aesthetics, bookish outfits, makeup, whatever but I’m getting sidetracked – let’s continue on more tips for creating a healthier relationship with reading.
Create A Reading Habit/Routine
Many bloggers including myself have done the tag that talks about our reading habits but it can actually help a lot to have a reading routine. Whether you read in the evening like I do or take the time to read a chapter or two in the morning, I’ve found that consistency and a stable routine means you end up looking forward to reading way more. I think this leads to the idea that you don’t need to be reading all the time either. Create your cute routine, write it down or pop it in your planner and make it look pretty if you want. The world is your oyster and your plans are solely yours.
Enjoy & Embrace Non-Reading Time
Being a reader and part of the book community does not mean that you need to be reading all the time or reading every day. You are still very much a reader if you’re not reading a book right now. It’s perfectly fine and healthier to take breaks so that you’re not overwhelmed or feeling resentful towards reading.
Reading should be an enjoyable experience because you are immersing yourself in different stories and adventures. Don’t forget that reading should be fun, it should be magical and motivating. I find that embracing non-reading time is especially great to create a healthy relationship with reading. Why should I feel guilty for playing a game or watching a movie I’m enjoying? I don’t need to be reading all the time, this isn’t a race. It makes me look forward to reading time cause it’s a fresh start to pick up my book and get into it.
Remember That Reading Is A Hobby
Pressures to read all the time or feeling like you need a certain number of books can happen naturally after seeing others achieve great reading milestones. However, it’s more important to remember that again, reading isn’t a race, it’s not a job (unless you’re an editor rip) and there are no REAL obligations for you to read certain or all of the books.
We all love the quote, ‘so many books to read but so little time’ but realistically we have a lot of time. We have years to get through our TBR and you don’t need to have read all the books you own either – what’s the fun in having a library full of books you’ve read already. Reading is as much of a hobby as book collection and there shouldn’t be a stigma for either.
There are so many exciting books to read that even sometimes, I am overwhelmed with choice and anticipation. I think that Fadwa from Word Wonders explained how to overcome this perfectly here:
Make peace with the fact that it’s literally impossible to read all the books…
1. Not all books are for you and you should sort through the releases and prioritize the ones that sound up your alley.
2. New releases don’t have an expiration date, you can get to them whenever you have time/money to get to them. I promise they won’t lose any of their initial magic if you read them a few months or even years after release.Fadwa @ Word Wonders
Forgo Other Opinions; Read What YOU Want To Read
This goes with the above, pressures to read certain books or new releases are just that – pressures. You can remove them completely because what you want to do and therefore what you want to read is up to you. Relating back to ‘cancel culture in the book community‘, just because a book is controversial doesn’t mean you should be censored and shouldn’t read it either. Read it, interpret it and make your own opinion.
Understand Why You’re Reading In The First Place
I think sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the hype, in the community and forget why you started reading in the first place. I started reading to help myself learn English in primary school! Then this transformed into loving reading because I enjoyed immersing myself into beautiful and grand stories about
sparkly vampires and demi-gods. I personally read to have fun, to experience something different and feel on the edge of my figurative seat as I rally behind beautiful complex characters.
Since then, my reading tastes have changed a little as I have grown but I still read mostly YA and I think I will continue to for a while because it’s always so much fun. I think it’s really important to remember why you started reading and reflect on why you’re reading now. If you’re reading because you feel you have to or you feel under the many pressures discussed above, maybe try to – stop.
Slow down for a while,
and look at your relationship with reading. It might have changed, and it might change again. Nothing is ever concrete until you decide it is and even then it might not.
And there you have it, my measly tips on feeling better about yourself and reading; your relationship with these lovely things called books (whether digital or physical). If any of these resonated with you, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Have a wonderful day/night!
Until next time,
Certainly have adopted some of these concepts into my reading this year. 2020 has definitely been a year of change and embracing the new. I really connected to the ‘enjoying non reading time’ which is something that I constantly do. It’s so important to realise that reading is not my sole personality trait and that I can do other things beyond reading. I’ve enjoyed many more shows this year, films too and not reading 24/7 has allowed me to reflect on my own self and work on that. Anyways, I’m rambling. Great post Tracy!
omg 100% agree, reading should never be the sole personality trait that defines you, and I’m so happy to hear you’ve found films and shows that you’ve enjoyed! I’m so happy that this post helped you reflect, thank you so much for the sweet comment <3
erin @ Reading On A Star
SUCH AN AMAZING POST! I really needed to read this!
thank you so much!! <3
I really needed this right now. I have always loved reading but this year – specifically the last few months – I haven’t been reading very much at all and it’s been frustrating. Especially having a book blog, I kept making myself feel guilty for not reading as much as many other book bloggers. So much of what you wrote in this post was exactly what I needed to read right now 🙂
thank you! I’m so glad it helped you in some way, I completely understand the feeling! It’s important to remember that you’re not less of anything if you’re not reading heaps or all the time, there is a lot of book blog content you can still create for what you’re passionate about. You can do this 🙂
Thank you! It’s sad to see that so many gets discouraged by the milestones of others. I know I have to remind myself that I’m in my first step, while others are in their 50th, 15th step. Aghhh I have to also remind myself that’s it’s okay to DNF an ARC. But it’s not easy tbh…
Of course, thank you! And honestly, it’s about adding perspective – not everybody has the same milestones and when it comes to blogging or anything, you’re the one that has control over what milestone you want to achieve (IF you even want to have specific milestones, it’s okay to just do what you want with no expectations too!). And DNFing ARCs is hard but it’s more important to think of your wellbeing and enjoyment, it’s just a book, there will be plenty more.
Rachelle Saint Louis
I absolutely love these tips! I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed lately and I’ve definitely fell into the comparison trap a few too many times. One of the biggest things that have been stressing me out are ARCs. I was so excited to get them, but now I have so many and I don’t even know if I can get to a lot of them in time. I really needed that reminder that at the end of the day, this is a hobby. It shouldn’t be more stressful than my actual responsibilities 🙂
I completely agree with your tip on forgoing the opinions of others. There’s a certain book I’ve been really looking forward to reading because of the Own Voices rep in it but I’ve heard some people saying that it’s problematic because of a few lines. It’s important to make the distinction that a book can have problematic elements without necessarily being a bad book and I shouldn’t feel guilty for still wanting to read it and form my own opinions
I really appreciate these tips 😀
Thank you so much for the comment! I’m glad it gave you some reassurance because pressures like this are felt by nearly everyone in the community!
Happy reading 🙂
Tasya @ The Literary Huntress
I love this post, Tracy! Being within the book community is nice, but I admit the pressure to read a certain number of books or a certain book can be overwhelming. I set small goals to, 50 to 100 pages whenever I can and also try to be better at DNF ing books 🙂
Thank you so much!
This! It’s so important to remember that reading, ultimately, is just a fun hobby, as is blogging. It’s good for me to remember that and take the pressure off it, otherwise, it can sometimes feel a little overwhelming. Thank you for this post!
Thank you! Yes it’s SO important <3
Tracy this post is the best! Need to keep these in mind most of the time.
Thank you so much Noura T_T I’m so happy that many people found this post helpful and that it resonated well with them. Happy reading <3
I’m going to be thinking about this for a long, long time: “We all love the quote, ‘so many books to read but so little time’ but realistically we have a lot of time. We have years to get through our TBR and you don’t need to have read all the books you own either – what’s the fun in having a library full of books you’ve read already. Reading is as much of a hobby as book collection and there shouldn’t be a stigma for either.”
I have this mentality that I have to read the books in the order I bought them? And I feel such immense guilt over not reading the books that I bought years and years ago, but never read. But this makes so much sense. Truly, what is the fun in having a library if you’ve read everything? You’ve honestly changed the way I look at reading, and I am just sitting here absolutely baffled and amazed. Thank you so much!
Ah thank you so much! I’m glad it helped in some way and I completely relate to that, you can feel so much guilt for a book you bought a long time ago but haven’t yet, however, it technically should make it so much more intriguing and exciting too. Happy reading!
I love this! I think sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in reading challenges and etc when you want to write more on your blog, so this is a nice reminder. I like your tips — I usually don’t feel guilty for not finishing a book, but sometimes you want to like a book even when you don’t! The tip of creating a reading schedule is interesting. I don’t think a strict schedule would work for me at all but it did make me realise I do have specific times that I like to read, so I should probably make specific time NOT to read too !
Thank you! And definitely, but a schedule doesn’t have to be strict; a routine does not mean it has to be the same every day either. While you might not feel guilty for not finishing a book, a lot of people do so it’s good to put it out there. Wanting to like a book makes that even worse!
OMG, I love everything in this post so much. Especially reading what you want to and making up your own mind. Great post, Tracy!! 💕
Thank you so much for your comments and the love Meeghan <3 I really appreciate it!!
Ruby Rae Reads
Um hello this post is so so cool and I ADORE your tips so much!! Because yes so important. The online community puts so much pressure on everyone. I try and read for fun most of the time, but sometimes I feel there are just SO many books to read and get so behind, which stresses me out haha
YES DNF!! WITHOUT!! GUILT!! Though I do feel like dnf is such a silly term sometimes and there are too many different meanings. Because if dnf is just putting a book down then I do that ALL the time. With the intent of picking it up again. Though some people say it when they’re never going to pick it up again (which is what I define it is). Omg so confusing and a tangent. But yes, from a mood reader, if you’re not feeling the book PUT IT DOWN!!
Love your tip about embracing the time too. Like it’s so helpful to sometimes just do something else. Cleanse the story devouring palate if ya know what I mean. Especially like movies or shows. Or just other forms of art, whether it be music or whatever. Which is what I do.
Again, LOVE this post so much <3
Thank you so much!! And yes exactly, I totally agree! Especially when you’re a super moody reader lol haha
Kal @ Reader Voracious
This is such a great post, Tracy!!! I went through another spell of MASSIVE READING SLUMP because of COVID and the guilt I felt for not wanting to read, let alone not wanting to read the arcs I had, got to be too much that it probably prolonged my slump. I am a BIG advocate of DNFing when a book isn’t right… even if it is a mood thing, I will set it aside for later. Whether or not I pick it up later is another story, of course!
Thank you!! That’s so sad to hear but I’m sure many other people also slumped because of COVID. The guilt can be seriously unbearable too! Great to see that you’re pro-DNFing <3 picking it up later is definitely another story haha thank you for stopping by <3