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5 ways to read more (in college or anywhere)

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In case you haven't figured it out by now, I like to read. A lot. I've always loved to read, and I've always been distressed by the fact that there are SO many books in the world and that there is no way at all that I'll be able to read every single one in my life time. To make up for this devastating fact, I read as much as I can. I'm constantly challenging myself to read more, and to find new ways to make reading a priority.

When I started college, I expected my reading to suffer. With the mountains of reading to do for homework, and the lack of time to myself, it seemed like I wasn't going to be able to read for pleasure a lot. However, since starting college, I've actually been reading more than I have in a long time.
My reading life has become so much richer. Not necessarily because of being in college, but because college has forced me to develop new habits with my reading that I didn't have before, and habits that I think will benefit any reader who wants to read more, whether in college or not.

R E A D  O N E  B O O K  A T  A  T I M E

This is something I fail to do a lot. It's kind of impossible to stick to one book at a time when I'm at school and I have to be juggling fifty million books, plus another billion journal articles all at once. But I have found that focusing on one book actually helps me to read through it faster.
It might seem counter-intuitive at first. Shouldn't you be reading at least two if you want to read more? 
For me at least, I find it more productive to put all my energy into a single book, rather than to be constantly jumping in and out of multiple. It gives me more motivation to read more, because if I finish one faster, I get to pick up another. Another thing I like about reading one book at a time is that the books stick with me longer. They're more distinguished, and aren't blurred together in my mind weeks later.  

R E A D  W H A T  M A K E S  Y O U  H A P P Y

Don't waste your time on the books that don't interest you, or books that seem like they'll just be bad. That will not motivate you to read more. And when you're already stressed and are having a hard time reading anyway, reading a book that doesn't make you happy could potentially lead you spiraling into the depths of a reading slump (which nobody wants ever).
I've always been a mood reader, but since I've been in college, I've become even more selective with my reading choices. Whenever I need a new book to read, I go through my TBR and I only pick the books I'm super excited to read, the books I know will make me happy to read, even in the midst of a looming shadow of a 15 page paper I need to write.

T A K E  Y O U R  B O O K  W I T H  Y O U  E V E R Y W H E R E

This is the best thing that any reader could do, and I highly recommend it. Being homeschooled before college, I never had to worry about being without a book. But I can't tell you how many times I've sat waiting in an empty classroom, or eating alone at lunch, regretting the fact I hadn't brought a book with me. So, taking inspiration from Rory Gilmore, I started just keeping my current read with me everywhere I went, whether a physical copy or on the Kindle app on my phone. When you want to read more you can't afford to waste any precious time to get reading done.

U S E  R E A D I N G  A S  I N C E N T I V E

Sometime, even if you do make it a point to take a book with you everywhere you go, it's still hard to find the time to actually read. I've found that it helps a lot to use reading as an incentive or reward to myself if I get my homework done. After I finish an assignment, I'll read a chapter. 
I'm definitely not always perfect at sticking with this. Sometimes I'll start reading and get too caught up in the book to get anymore homework done, or I'll get distracted with Youtube or Netflix instead of my book. But most of the time, this is a great way to get my homework done and make time to read more. 

D O N ' T  F O R C E  Y O U R S E L F  T O  R E A D

This is my biggest piece of advise to any reader at any stage. Don't read if you really aren't feeling it! I always tend to feel guilty when I'm in reading slumps. I feel like I should read something, but I can't get into the mood, and I can't ever focus on the words or the story when I try to force myself to read. If you're stressed and slip into a reading slump, just let it happen. Spend time watching movies to destress, hang out with family and friends. The urge to read will always come back at some point, you just have to be patient.
I've had my share of mini reading slumps, either at school or during other hard times in life, and I just needed to take a step back for awhile. You won't read more if you try to force yourself to read. You'll probably only extend your reading slump and make it even worse! (which nobody wants ever)
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People are usually surprised at how much I'm able to read while in college, but really it's not a hard to do. As long as reading is important to you, it will fit in your life, and you will find time to do it at any stage of life. 

Are there any things that you do to be more productive in your reading?

13 comments

  1. HOHO, i loved this! such a great list. i especially like the idea of not forcing yourself to read...i think, sometimes, i get into this mood where i'm like, "i just need to read SOMETHING BUT I CAN'T DO ITTT." and get frustrated at myself...but you're totally right - take a step back and do other things to destress. the reading fever will come back when it's ready! x

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    1. Not forcing myself to read has been one of the most helpful ways I've found to actually read more! It seems weird but it works and helps you to actually enjoy the reading!

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  2. I've been reading a little faster this year. The main reason is because I decided that if I'm reading a contemporary, I can read 100 pages a day. And most YA contemporaries I read aren't the deepest books in the world so I told myself to just not meditate for such a long time.

    I basically read all the time in school. And even on the bus. I don't socialise much so I just make time for it.

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    1. Oh yeah contemporaries are super easy to fly through! Which isn't a bad thing at all. I love those books you can get through super fast and just enjoy without thinking too hard!
      And hey reading is far superior to socializing! ;)

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  3. THIS POST!!!! <3 I do all of these things and IT DOES HELP. I've always taken a book with me wherever I go. It's almost like an accessory? YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN YOU'LL NEED TO BREAK THAT BAD BOY OUT AND READ. I've had so many moments when I wished I had brought a book with me. -.- I haven't been doing it as of lately, but when the weather starts to warm up, I plan on taking my current read *everywhere*.

    Also; I used to never read more than one book at once. I've been doing it a little bit recently. Only because I have started reading comics and I am part of a book club... so I'll have my comic, my book club book, and my current read. I mostly pay more attention to my current read but I have realized that focusing on one book at a time is A LOT easier.
    And I've also realized that I do a lot more reading compared to other years when I didn't have college classes? I think it's because now that we have college schoolwork, we procrastinate by investing in our reading time. XD Which, technically, isn't a bad thing. ;) I am a slower reader so when I do have textbooks to read, my leisure reads do get less attention. BUT I'M GETTING BETTER AND THIS POST HAS INSPIRED ME TO READ READ READ. <3

    Sorry for the long comment. o-o As you can see, I am very passionate about reading. Lovely post, my dear!

    xx Kenzie

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    1. Books are the best fashion accessory ;)
      I can read more than one book at a time sometimes in the summer when I have nothing else to do, but during school it's a near impossibility. With all the stuff I have to read for homework, I can only handle one fun book!
      I definitely read to procrastinate too! I mean I'm doing SOMETHING productive right?? It's the sad reality of college students, always procrastinating XD
      I'm so glad my post was able to inspire you though! Long comments are my favorites ;)

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  4. These are great tips, Hannah. I could never figure out how people read more than one book at a time, because for me it's just confusing to have two different story lines running in my head. I've also found it helpful to figure out which time of day I am naturally drawn to reading, and then schedule my leisure / work around that. So for me, it's best to read first thing in the morning (with coffee, of course), or right before bed.

    cheers.
    k.

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    1. Oh yeah! Reading more than one book at a time can be very exhausting!
      It is helpful to find the right time to read and to keep it sacred. I've been having to do that this semester a lot with my crazy schedule, and it's been very rewarding! I read best right before bed too!

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  6. Whoa. Something went terribly wrong with that comment. Oops! *blushes* How did that happen...?

    Anyhoozens, this post was super helpful! I'll be keeping these points in mind, especially for when I go to college myself, in a few years. :D

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    1. Hey no problem! I'm glad you found the post helpful! And good luck with college, I can't wait to hear about all your new adventures!

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