Just a few days ago, readers worldwide were celebrating World Book Day. In the midst of the celebration, however, some people were busy trying to find an answer to this question, “How do readers do it?” Are you one of those awesome people – yes, you are awesome, who are bordered by this thought? Who wish they could get lost in the pages of a book for long hours and not feel time go by?
I was once this person. I could hardly flip through ten pages of a book without getting bored and eventually dropping the book. But I had the desire to become a reader. I wanted it so badly. So what did I do? What took me from being a non-reader to becoming an “about to be voracious reader?”
Outlined in no particular order below, are some of the steps and practices that help me conquer my fear for the written word.
CHOOSE A CONVENIENT BOOK FORMAT.
The computer age brought along with it the age long readers debate, hard copy or soft copy books, which is the best format to read in? While both sides have sound arguments in their favor, my conclusion remains, stick with whatever format is comfortable for you. There isn’t a blanket answer to this question. If you are just starting out with developing a reading habit, find out for yourself what works best for you.
When I decided to start taking reading seriously, I did not really trust myself to be committed. So I avoided buying hard copies. Instead, I would download available soft copies on my phone, and try reading those instead. As a result, I became comfortable with reading soft copies overtime. That worked for me, does not guarantee it to work for another person. Choose what format suits you best, do not let your judgment be affected by arguments.
KEEP TRACK OF YOUR PROGRESS
Keeping track of progress is a simple trick to help you develop your reading habit. Seeing how much progress you have made overtime will motivate you to do better.
When I found out I could read thirty pages of a book conveniently at a stretch, without feeling the urge to drop the book, it got me excited. And then subconsciously, I started working towards doing better than thirty pages, and so on. Keeping a track of your progress is a healthy practice if you hope to make the switch from a non reader to a reader.
READ WORKS FROM GENRES THAT RESONATE WITH YOU
So your friends would not stop throwing names of renowned authors and their works in your conversations. And as a result, you feel pressured to read up on their works. The problem, however, is that you don’t feel at home with their genre of writing, no matter how hard you try to enjoy it, it ends up wearing you out.
Save yourself the unnecessary trouble, life is too short to read books you don’t enjoy. It doesn’t matter if said book is loved by the rest of the world. When I started working on developing a reading habit, I fell so much in love with memoirs. They were just so expository and intimate, and I stuck with reading as much as I could. For you, it might be religious books, historical, self-development. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you are reading a book, and you derive instant gratification doing so.
ALWAYS SET OUT WITH A PLAN
Most times, the reason why a lot of us do not want to attempt reading in the first place is simply because we are scared by the volume of the books we pick up. “Will I ever finish reading this BIG book?” We ask ourselves. We will read a pamphlet without hesitation, devour a blog post without thinking about it twice, but the moment we are faced with a book, we chicken out. So, how do you overcome this seemingly legitimate fear?
If you are intimidated by the volume of a book, then setting out to read it without having a plan in place is shooting yourself in the foot. You have to create a reasonable reading plan to help you through. When I started reading, I set a goal of thirty pages daily for myself. For you, the goal might be to read for a certain amount of hours daily. With my goal in mind, I wasn’t worried about the three hundred plus pages I had to finish reading; I only focused on the thirty for each day – thirty pages at that time wasn’t really an easy task. The key to creating an effective reading plan is to be sincere and set realistic and easily achievable goals.
ALWAYS HAVE A DICTIONARY CLOSEBY WHILE READING
And check for the meaning of every single strange word you come across. You might not know this, but believe me when I say; the thought of improving your vocabulary is enough motivation to read. The thought of all those people you’d wow with your newly acquired lingo. And it also makes reading fun, seeing how learning generally is fun.
Lastly, exercise patience. Developing a reading habit takes time, for some it takes longer than it does with others. Don’t put undue pressure on yourself. With constant positive effort, you’ll soon notice that reading ceases to be a burdensome activity that you dread, but one that you love to engage in.
Always remember; this is about developing a habit. This is not about proving yourself, or impressing someone else. The only person that needs to be impressed is you.
What practices have helped develop and improve your reading habit? Kindly share some below.