We’ve all been there: the pile of unread books keeps growing, while our determination to dive into them remains stagnant. I’ve often found myself in this cycle, promising to rekindle my love for reading but never fully committing. Yet, the time has come for a change. My creative well has run dry, and I’ve identified a key solution: books. For the last two months of 2023, I’ve set myself a challenge—to reconnect with my passion for reading and reignite the spark of creativity that I know lies dormant within the pages of books.
I saw this TikTok that really hit home for me. She said (paraphrased):
“If you are anything like me and you went to graduate school and you had to do lots and lots of academic reading, writing papers, lit reviews… you name it. When you completed grad school you found yourself not being able to enjoy reading anymore. But it turns out it’s not that you don’t enjoy reading anymore It’s just that you were reading so many academic and research pieces that you weren’t reading for enjoyment anymore.”— @animawehlcsw on TikTok
I used to post about the books I was reading or the books I found at thrift stores. Slowly I just stopped. I want to get back into that.
What sparked this journey?
The last few months have been a struggle for me. I have all these things I want to write about but my brain just doesn’t want to compute my thoughts into sentences. My brain does not want to let the words flow from within me to the keyboard and project these carefully curated blog posts for your beautiful eyes to enjoy reading.
I got a part-time job and I absolutely love it. It gets me out of the house. I get to see people on a regular basis. It also lets me be silly and goofy from time to time. If you don’t know… I am a Nanny to 2 funny, sweet, and absolutely goofy little boys. These goobers are so much fun to be around. I look forward my the few hours I spend with them a day.
But this blog life and home life have been running me ragged. No matter which way I turn my head I can’t catch a break. I sit down long enough to write or my house needs a deep clean. I think if I just slow down from trying to do everything and take a little “me” time to read… my creative juices will start flowing. Also, to help with my little rut… I bought the book “The Artist Way” by Julia Cameron. I have seen it all over TikTok… I am desperate right now.
I will also be working on that simultaneously during this challenge and will post about it. As I said before Find me on Facebook and Instagram updating you on the daily how it is going. Let’s get into my reading challenge.
Falling in Love with Books
The plan is straightforward I’ve scoured my shelves and compiled a list of 29 books waiting to be devoured. Additionally, there are 10 books I’m itching to revisit, that have left an indelible mark on me. However, here’s the catch: I’ve sworn off buying new books until I’ve conquered this towering pile of unread treasures.
Let me know in the comments if you want me to share the full list of my TBR and what books I want to re-read.
I have written numerous posts recommending books to your guys that are on my TBR or I have read, but I have been slacking and that needs to stop.
This isn’t about the quantity we are reading before the end of the year. I just want to end the year creating a good habit that I can bring into 2024 with me.
My Reading Challenge Preparation
Embarking on a journey back into the world of reading requires some thoughtful groundwork. To kickstart this endeavor, I took a few days to prepare:
- Creating a Book List: The first step was to take inventory of the books I wanted to read and the ones I wished to revisit. Combining the excitement of new adventures and the comfort of familiar tales, I compiled a list of 29 books from my ‘To Be Read’ (TBR) pile and 10 beloved books I wanted to reread. (I am extra and wrote my list to include the title, author, genre, how many chapters, and how many pages.)
- Selection of the Starting Book: I made the crucial decision of choosing which book to start this reading challenge with. It’s vital to select one that resonates with your current mood or piques your interest. The right choice can set the tone for an engaging reading journey. (I have been trying to read You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero for months… I am starting with that book and The Artist’s Way)
- Acquiring a Notebook for Reflection: A dedicated notebook to jot down favorite quotes, reflections, and lessons learned is a simple yet powerful tool. It becomes a personal repository of insights gained from the reading journey. (I found this beautiful journal/notebook at the thrift store for 2.99 perfect for this.)
- Crafting a Realistic Plan: Realism is the cornerstone of success. Crafting an achievable reading plan is vital. Balancing the desire to devour books with the realities of daily life helps in staying committed to the challenge. (My 30-day reading challenge is to start off slow with 15 minutes of reading and 5 minutes of reflection in my notebook and increase my time every week)
- Setting Achievable Goals: Breaking down the reading challenge into daily or weekly goals adds structure to the journey. It helps in managing time and maintaining consistency, making the challenge more attainable. (My daily goal is to read one chapter a day or 1 book in a week depending on how I am feeling about the book.)
The Reading Challenge
My 30-Day Reading Challenge: To assist in increasing reading time and fostering a love for books, I’ve devised a 30-day reading challenge. This challenge aims to gradually increase the time spent reading each week, nurturing a consistent reading habit. The challenge involves:
Week 1: Start with 15 minutes of daily reading.
Week 2: Increase reading time to 20 minutes daily.
Week 3: Aim for 25 minutes of daily reading.
Week 4: Progress to 30 minutes of daily reading.
This incremental approach makes it manageable for both avid readers and those looking to rekindle their love for books. It’s a gradual process that slowly cultivates a healthy reading habit.
Don’t forget to get my free printable to help you keep track! Head over to my Freebies tab to sign up for my mailing list and you will get access to ALL OF MY FREE PRINTABLES! Don’t worry I won’t spam you with emails. I hate when people do that, so I won’t do it to you!
Why 30 minutes?
The idea that 30 minutes of reading every day is considered a good practice is not a hard and fast rule, but it is often recommended for several reasons:
- Consistency: Reading for 30 minutes a day provides a consistent routine, making it more likely that you’ll stick with the habit. Consistency is key to building any good habit, including reading.
- Time for Engagement: 30 minutes allows you to engage with a book or text in a meaningful way. It’s usually enough time to immerse yourself in the content and understand it better, without feeling rushed.
- Learning and Comprehension: Research suggests that reading for at least 30 minutes a day can significantly improve comprehension and retention of information. It provides enough time for your brain to process and internalize what you’re reading.
- Stress Reduction: Reading can be a great way to relax and de-stress. 30 minutes of reading each day can serve as a mental break and a healthy escape from the demands of daily life.
- Goal Setting: Setting a specific daily reading goal of 30 minutes can help you track your progress and motivate you to read consistently.
That said, the “best” amount of time for reading can vary from person to person. Some people may find that 30 minutes or more suits their schedule and reading habits better. The key is to establish a reading habit that works for you and allows you to enjoy the benefits of reading regularly. If you can read for longer periods, that’s great, but even shorter reading sessions can be beneficial if done consistently. The most important thing is to make reading a part of your daily routine and find a time that works for you.
Tips and Tricks to Read More
Embarking on a reading challenge requires a certain level of commitment and a game plan. Here are some strategies and tips I’ve devised to ensure I stay on track and rekindle my love affair with books:
Find Your Reading Sanctuary: Creating a cozy and inviting reading nook can significantly enhance your reading experience. Find a comfortable spot that promotes focus and relaxation.
Incorporate Reading into Daily Routine: Allocate specific times during the day dedicated solely to reading. It could be in the morning with a cup of coffee or at night before bed. Consistency is key.
Carry a Book Everywhere: I’ve made it a habit to carry a book with me everywhere I go. You’d be surprised how many pages you can sneak in during unexpected moments—waiting in line, during lunch breaks, or while commuting.
Utilize Dead Time: Make use of ‘dead time’ during the day, like commuting or waiting in lines. Carry a book or utilize e-readers to capitalize on these moments for reading.
Limit Distractions: Minimize distractions by silencing your phone or finding a quiet space. Immersing yourself fully in the book enhances comprehension and enjoyment.
Setting Realistic Goals: Setting achievable goals is crucial. Instead of pressuring myself to read as many books by the end of the year, I’ve set my goal the same as before… one chapter a day. This allows for progress without overwhelming myself.
30-Day Reading Challenge: To increase my weekly reading time, I’ve created a 30-day reading challenge. This involves gradually increasing the time spent reading each day. For instance, starting with 20 minutes on the first day and adding 5 minutes each subsequent week. By the end of 30 days, I aim to comfortably spend 30 minutes immersed in a book each day.
(Don’t forget to get the FREE printable! Go to the Freebies page.)
Joining Reading Communities: Participating in book clubs or online reading communities can be immensely motivating. Discussing books with others and sharing thoughts can add a social aspect to reading, making it more enjoyable.
Starting a Reading Journal
You’re welcome to skip this section of the blog post if it’s not your cup of tea or you just like to read for fun. But, if you’re anything like me, when I’m engrossed in a good read, I have this natural urge to track my progress of how far I’ve come and write down any words of wisdom or things that I resonate with. So to take my reading challenge and foster me falling in love with books again… one step further I am going to start a reading journal…
Before when I was trying to track my progress in reading I put it in my regular journal, but sometimes I can’t find the page I want quickly. Also, I didn’t leave myself much room to write all of those amazing things down (as we can see from the photo below). I think having a dedicated journal for all the lessons learned and inspirational words might boost my creativity. It’s a bit like creating a personal trail of breadcrumbs through the pages of a book.
Keeping a reading journal can be an excellent way to develop and maintain a reading habit. Here is a list of things I will be keeping in my reading journal to help foster this habit:
- Title and Author: Note down the title of the book and the author’s name. This basic information helps you remember what you’ve read.
- Date Started and Finished: Tracking the start and finish dates can motivate you to set reading goals and keep a rhythm in your reading habits.
- Page Count/Duration: Keep track of how many pages you read each day or how much time you spend reading. This can help you stay consistent and gradually increase your reading pace.
- Summary/Notes: Jot down your thoughts, feelings, or a brief summary after each reading session. Note the main points, characters, or significant events. Summarizing what you’ve read can help reinforce your understanding and retention.
- Favorite Quotes/Passages: Write down any quotes or passages that resonate with you. This can serve as a source of inspiration and can be nice to look back on.
- Genre/Category: Categorize your readings by genre or category. This can help you identify your preferences and explore similar books in the future.
- Personal Reflections: Reflect on how the book made you feel, what you learned, or how it might relate to your personal life or experiences. This can make your reading experience more personal and meaningful.
- Recommendations: Make note of any recommendations you receive from friends, book reviews, or other sources. This way, you’ll have a list of potential future reads.
- Rating/Review: Assign a rating to the book and write a short review. This helps in evaluating your own tastes and preferences and can also serve as a reference for others looking for book recommendations.
- Reading Environment: Note where you read (e.g., at home, in a cafe, in the park). Sometimes the environment can impact your reading experience.
For me, I like to take it a step further by indulging in some journaling. I have plenty of blog posts about journaling and how to do it for cheap, I also answer a lot of FAQs if you have any. I don’t know what it is but the act of cutting and pasting being creative is incredibly soothing to me. Very therapeutic… It’s like creating a personalized scrapbook of literary treasures. However, the beauty of it is that you can accomplish all of this with nothing more than a trusty pen and an affordable $1.25 notebook from your local dollar store. It’s a low-cost, DIY way to enhance your reading experience and create a unique record of your literary journey.
The Transformative Power of Reading
Books possess an almost mystical ability to transport us to different worlds, evoke emotions, and ignite our imagination. As I take on this reading challenge, I anticipate not just the pleasure of devouring captivating stories but also the renewal of my creative spirit.
Through books, I hope to rediscover the joy of storytelling, explore diverse perspectives, and reignite the inspiration that I’ve been craving. Whether it’s the comfort of a well-loved classic or the thrill of a new narrative, I’m excited to let these stories breathe life into my world once more.
Embracing the Journey
The decision to fall in love with books again is not merely about clearing a reading list; it’s about embracing a journey of self-discovery, learning, and enrichment. It’s about delving into worlds unknown and finding solace, knowledge, and inspiration within the pages.
I invite you to join me on this journey. Whether you’re a fellow book lover or someone looking to reignite their passion for reading, take on a reading challenge and let the magic of books captivate you once more. After all, within the pages of a book, incredible adventures await, and the potential for transformation is boundless.
My personal reading challenge is not just about ticking off titles from a list; it’s about rediscovering the joy of reading and the magic of storytelling. Most of all I want to learn more about myself. I invite you to join me in this quest to rekindle our passion for reading. Let’s embrace the joy and knowledge that books have to offer and embark on this fulfilling adventure together. It’s time to fall back in love with books.
As the year draws to a close, I am ready to embrace the challenge and start falling in love with books again. Who knows what worlds, emotions, and inspirations await in the pages of those 39 books?
The adventure begins now.
Until next time, Have a great day! Remember you are a badass!