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?

59 comments:

  1. I run too fast on the treadmill to read. I read some at work and always before going to bed. Trying to make more time for it since I have so many of my blogger buddy's books on my iPad, waiting.

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    1. You and me both! Too many bloggers to read, too little time. Do you have trouble sleeping? My mom reads on a Kindle Paperwhite before bed...I think it doesn't have the glow that a regular Kindle or iPad has.

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  2. I read books while eating breakfast and lunch every day. I manage to get through one per week.

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    1. You do something that I NEED to start doing...eat very slowly! My husband and I joke that we eat so fast, if we ever get takeout, there's no point in even bringing it home and putting it on plates and taking it all the way up to the bonus room where we eat. It's gone in shorter time than it takes us to order and pay for it!

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  3. I do it here and there, no set schedule as I can fit it in. Never knew that about blue light either.

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    1. I don't know if it's true. Alex up there says he reads before bed and I think a lot of people read on a Kindle or iPad before bed. I'm on my laptop every day until bedtime and I don't have a problem falling asleep--but I think the argument was that smartphones and tablets are closer to your face than a laptop.

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  4. This summer has definitely been more of a challenge for me than most for some reason but I agree, I squeeze it in whenever I can, where ever I am.
    I love seeing other author's reading on Goodreads or visiting their blogs and seeing them read the same things I am, it is just fun to see what they thing and what they are interested in.

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    1. I always get excited when I check in on someone's blog and see them reading a book I recommend! It feels so good to share a book with someone and discuss it. I guess I should belong to a book club, but I have so little time!

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  5. I read whenever I can, including bedtime - scary book or no. :) I really do find that reading informs and improves my creativity and my writing.

    Oh, and I LOVE that Twilight Zone pic/episode. :)

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    1. That Twilight Zone is definitely a classic. It's heartbreaking, though!

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  6. You're rigt, somehow readers manage to find the time to squeeze in a book or two, but some are better than others. I've tried diligently to listen to audiobooks but they don't work well for me, and I don't use a Kindle or Nook, so I keep carrying my books along to appointments, meetings, lunches, etc., as well as reading during commercials. Lately, I take the time to turn everything off, and just sit in a chair reading. Before I know it, I've knocked out a ton of chapters. Great topic! Hugs...Ro

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    1. The best thing about my Kindle is that it interacts with the Kindle app on my iPhone. So if I'm ever stuck somewhere, I can just open my Kindle app and start reading. It'll prompt me to go to the last point I read in a book on my Kindle and I can say yes, go forward to that point!

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  7. I squeeze in reading at the drive thru too. Never know when the line's gonna be long! =)

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    1. The drive-thru at the bank near where I used to work was horrible. I could get in 5-10 minutes of reading just to deposit a check. Now I live in a nicer part of town and the drive-thru is so fast, I'm finished almost as soon as I've pulled up. Interesting how a bank neglects the branches in its poorer part of town, leaving the residents with one employee (and the slowest one in the whole company, at that!).

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  8. I have just discovered the love of audio books with War and Peace on Audible. I just couldn't get through it in print but I can't stop listening to it, it's become an addiction.

    I also love that my Kindle app syncs across devices so I an just pick up my phone and keep reading on the app where I was I reading when I have a few minutes and knock off a chapter or two.

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    1. I did well with Audible when I was moving...mostly because packing was pretty boring! But I can't seem to focus now that it's just something I do while driving. I have found that nonfiction is easier to listen to than fiction. I don't know why! When I'm reading fiction, I have to see the words on the page or my mind drifts.

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  9. I'm on the computer while I eat breakfast checking my emails. I pull the little shelf out on my desk and try not to spill anything on my Apple keyboard.
    I read in bed but as soon as I start to feel my eyes getting heavy i turn out the light and I'm fast asleep as my alarm is set for 5:00AM.

    I used to read a lot, mostly self improvement books and psychology books or soul nourishing books, new age stuff, hand writing analysis and such. Now that my life has seemed to get busier, I find myself reading more on the computer.

    I haven't tried audio books. It's on my bucket list to do. For the first time in ages, I didn't even painted my toe nails yet this summer. I must be busy eh?
    Hugs,
    JB

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    1. Very familiar with eating while trying not to get anything on my Apple keyboard! In fact, I had a cup of yogurt for lunch while sitting here working! Mine's a laptop, though, so it's far enough away that I don't have to worry about it.

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  10. I've started fitting reading in right before I go to bed. I don't see how other writers can read 20 books a month. I'm jealous.

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    1. I can't imagine!!! I read a lot of middle grade/chapter books and those are short and still five books a month is the most I can do. This month I only read four because I was on vacation the first week. (I don't ever take vacations where I can just read all week like most people do!)

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  11. I read someone talking about audible books. I don't know why I haven't tried it yet!

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    1. You pay a monthly fee and get one book a month free. For me, that's always enough. but sometimes they have sales where you can buy credits for 50 percent off and use those credits to buy extra books when you've read your free book in a month.

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  12. I think finding time to read is like anything else... we can find time for things that are important to us... I find time to exercise daily and I used to wonder where I could find time... it became important, so I did ♡ Reading is the same thing xox

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    1. That is so true! I try to walk an hour each day...I make myself take that hour. But I read while I'm on my treadmill, so that's my hour of reading AND exercising!

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  13. I wish I could get through more books. As of now I read about 2 a month which feels so lame to me, and there are SO MANY GOOD ONES out right now. But I usually read for about an hour before bed every night, when it's quiet!

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    1. Two a month is good! It all depends on the length of the books, too. I've read some 1000-page books that took half the month to get through, easily.

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  14. I can't imagine not reading. Infact, I would love to take a holiday where I just read and read and read some more.

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  15. I read before I sleep and, these days, when I just wake up as well. It's true that we do feel guilty when we read during the middle of the day. (I'd feel like I wasn't getting more work done, especially since I work from home.) But I have to make time for reading. Tried listening to audiobooks once and found that I couldn't multitask at all. I couldn't do anything else but lie down when listening to a story so it defeated the purpose for me.

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  16. I make time to read. If we go to the boat then I always bring several books. Sometimes I can be on the third book by the time we come home. Boats and reading go together nicely.

    When I have a doctors appointment you'll always find me with a book. It makes waiting the same as your listening to audio books while driving.

    At home hubby and I take Little Bit out each evening for about one hour. We sit in the driveway and read. Little Bit has her treats and hunts for critters.

    I also spend about an hour reading before bed. I read a lot.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  17. I like to read before bed and on Saturday and Sunday afternoons (usually before a nap, LOL).

    betty

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  18. Yep, usually it's before bed. Or about to read now waiting for an oil change!

    BTW regarding your comment about Seattle on my blog - it is rainy and gray most of the time, but summer is the best season, which is why we picked that time. One of the locals said they missed the gloom, LOL.

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  19. I read to my kids in the afternoon when my brain is mush, in the morning when I first wake up, and shortly before taking a nap if I'm not too exhausted. Normally I can plow through two books a week, but lately it's more like 1 a week. (And sometimes only a couple short stories/novellas, depending on how much sleep I've had.) Still, I'm right there with you. We can't write without reading.

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  20. I rarely ever read novels/books anymore. Not enough time in the day for all this stuff even on my days off

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  21. You bloggers are inspiring me to read more! So many of you have great suggestions. I actually enjoy reading, but I have to find something really good because I spent oh, say, 200 years in college reading for work. Reading legal books drains it out of you. I appreciate all the inspiration tho!!

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  22. I haven't read as much in the last couple of months because of my broken arm. But in the last week I've read 4 books that I've been waiting for over a month to read after I won them. I don't watch a lot of tv at night so that's when I usually do most of my reading.

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  23. Finding time to read can be tricky, especially since there are so many wonderful books coming out daily. Audio books are a big help to me. I love that I can 'read' while I do things around the house that need to be done or like you mentioned driving.

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  24. I neglect other things to read. With very little guiilt. Reading is my education, my comfort, my escape...

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  25. Changing my hours of reading helps. Nighttime I fall asleep now, so the a.m. works when my thoughts are crisp. Audio is great for road trips.

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  26. Reading a Kindle in bed doesn't keep me up! I wish it did so I could read just a little bit more before I crash. Always waking up with it half under the pillow... I've never tried audio books, mainly because I like to read at my own pace, but maybe one day. I'd like to read more, but it's definitely essential!

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  27. I read at night before bed. It helps relax me. The problem is I get too engrossed and may end up staying up way too late for "one more chapter".

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  28. right now, i don't. i'm having trouble keeping up with blog reading, too.

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  29. I, like Liz, read at night before I go to sleep. The kids gave me a little book size Kindle Paperlite I love, it is back-lighted and I can read it in any kind of light and it fits in my purse to go to doctor and other appointments where I might have to wait.. I do also recommend books to my friends and write reviews on Amazon which we should all do if we really enjoyed a book. It does help authors and readers who are considering buying the book.

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  30. My philosophy (well, one of many) is that we make time for the things we want to make time for. Reading is one of my big loves, so I'm never without reading time, no matter how difficult it might be to find it. Print books in bed at night (I don't need much sleep) and ebooks on my kindle or iPad through the day whenever I have a minute. I usually review on Goodreads, but know I should also go back to reviewing on Amazon, but they deleted a lot of my reviews and i don't want to waste time anymore. Go figure...:-)

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  31. I read a variety of books, different genre.
    This solution to your problem of finding time to read is to brush it all off. Put up a simple sign: I'm reading. Leave me alone. Probably won't work, tho.

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  32. I read a variety of books, different genre.
    This solution to your problem of finding time to read is to brush it all off. Put up a simple sign: I'm reading. Leave me alone. Probably won't work, tho.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I read a variety of books, different genre.
    This solution to your problem of finding time to read is to brush it all off. Put up a simple sign: I'm reading. Leave me alone. Probably won't work, tho.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I read a variety of books, different genre.
    This solution to your problem of finding time to read is to brush it all off. Put up a simple sign: I'm reading. Leave me alone. Probably won't work, tho.

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  35. This is so true! I actually read before I go to bed and, if I have a moment, I will open my book and read a little on a certain weekend. I am a slow reader so I am lucky to get some books done in a year. I feel so bad saying that.

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  36. I love to read but I'm having trouble with eye strain. It's so frustrating! I need a better eye doctor to hook me up with a great prescription and advice on how to avoid it. It's not as easy as it seems for my weird eyes.

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  37. An audiobook has to be very interesting to me during a commute, or I'm afraid I'll fall asleep and drive off the road.

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  38. I generally read 3-4 books a month and am always working on a couple of books. Reading is essential for my paid job, even if I am not reading something that is directly related. Reading helps creativity. I also read more than one book at a time--generally a fiction book and a non-fiction book. I also use audible for the gym. I used to listen when walking but then found I really like to take in the sights and sounds, so I seldom read and walk anymore.

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  39. My evening commute has been the best time, assuming I'm not daydreaming or sleeping. I don't read going into work as I prefer to close my eyes and pretend the bus is a private jet taking me to some exotic locale. I'm going to try reading in the morning as well. The time will pass whether I dream or read...

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  40. That is the great thing about wanting to be a full-time writer—I get to read books and call it "research!" I read whenever I can, but I find that I'm either writing or reading. If I'm working on a project, then I won't read for a while, then I'll go through a reading phase. I wish I could balance both of them, but when I'm reading a book, I don't want to do anything else until it's finished (especially if it's really good!) And when I'm writing a book, I become focused on that. :)

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  41. I read in the treadmill too. I always say the best feature is the book holder. My husband cringes when I say that because my treadmill has a ton of workout features I never use.

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  42. I admit that I don't take enough time to read -- books that is! If I cut back on the blogs I read I'd have the time but since I don't write for a living, it isn't as important.

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  43. I read a little bit before each writing session. It helps to wake me up! It's been difficult for me to "get into" a story lately. Not sure what that's about, but I'm quick to put books down if they don't capture my attention easily.

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  44. Someone asked me this the other day and I said that I don't watch TV all that much--that's the only way I have time. They gave me *strangest* look (and still do!). But, for me, that's the only way I manage to find time--and honestly, I prefer TV to books most of the time :)

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    1. I mean books to TV. Brain-dead moment there!

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  45. Ah, I love this. Although right now I'm more of reading stuff about my fave artist fangirling, I find time to read everytime. I feel guilty and deprived when I stop reading.

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