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,