Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Finding Time to Read

At the end of each month, I post about all the great books I read that month. Often in the comments I see some variation of this statement:

"How do you find time to read so many books?"

The truth is, those of us who are writers know it's important to read. In fact, many successful authors say it's a must.

I think the problem with reading is priorities. Most of us have work obligations and household chores. On top of that, we spend time with our families and try to get eight hours or so of sleep each night.

Setting aside time to read each day seems impossible. If we did sit in a corner and open a book (or a Kindle), we'd feel guilty about all the other things we were neglecting. Never mind that we're feeding our minds so that we can become better writers.

When I was working full-time and building my freelance writing business on the side, I had zero minutes each day to do anything but write. But I knew I had to squeeze reading in somehow. I looked at my day and saw some wasted time. Most of it was the time I spent commuting to work--about 30 minutes each way. But how do you read and drive?

So I started renting audiobooks from the library. But getting them to my iPhone was a pain in the you-know-what. (Still is.) So then I found Audible. One book a month for a monthly fee. I'd listen to books on the way to work and on the way back each day. I found it could turn a very stressful drive into this:

Audiobooks are still great for driving, but I also find they help pass the time while you're doing undesirable tasks like folding laundry and loading the dishwasher.

Unfortunately, most of the books I want to read aren't available on audio, which means I have to squeeze in time for old-fashioned reading. I get that reading in while in the treadmill. Unfortunately, reading books on the treadmill can be tricky. It can be difficult to see the print from such a distance...but keeping it open is also a challenge.

I've found Kindles come in handy for that. You can turn the page with just a tap on the screen. Plus you can make the print as large as you need to in order to see it.

Bedtime is also a favorite time to read. It puts many people to sleep. If you're going to read this way, though, you probably should stick with paper-based books, since staring at a lit screen can keep you up at night. You also should probably stay away from scary books.

When do you read?