Once upon a time I read a lot. I kept meticulous notes and reviewed every single book on my book reviewing website [now defunct]. Most years I read 50-70 books. One year I topped out at 100. I know many people read far more books than this in a year, but I’m not the fastest reader and I was pretty satisfied with this reading level. Then things changed. Reading dropped. A lot. There were likely a number of factors:
a) burning out after the year I read 100 books [that is a lot of books for me]
b) kiddos (if I look on good reads my reading dropped around the time kiddos arrived) and
c) writing deadlines and such.
But if I’m being completely and totally honest one of the biggest reasons for my sharp decline in reading had to do with:
d) my phone.
It isn’t just that I was reading less because of my phone, but I wasn’t able to focus on the reading when I was reading. Studies have confirmed our attention spans are dropping thanks to the constant use of phones and the way they work with us clicking around affects our ability to focus.
Last year I made a conscious effort to improve this and managed to read about 43 books, more books than I read since 2011. This was good, but I still didn’t reach my goal of 50 books, and this year in 2016 I’d really like to try to hit that number. There are a million reasons why I want to read more, but some of the most compelling:
a) Reading brings me pleasure. I love reading.
b) Many of my friends are authors. I want to know the stories they’ve spun.
c) Modeling behavior is the best way to have your children follow the same behavior. The more I read books and the less I’m on my phone, the more they will follow suit.
d) Reading is vital to the craft of writing. As an author its not an option to read. It’s part of the job.
Recently I read this article on reading books. The author read 164 books and shared fantastic advice on how to read more. It motivated and revitalized me. Seriously, there are some amazing tips there including one that I need to follow more: If a book isn’t drawing me in, stop reading it. Period. I feel this sense that I must complete books and I think that this is the biggest thing impeding my progress at times, getting stuck for days/weeks/months on one book I feel I have to finish but have no motivation to complete. 2016 that stops. I loved their chart. So this year, I made my own to track my reading. It’s a simple Google Sheet and the things I’m tracking are:
- Male/Female Author
- Date Started
- Date Finished
- Why did I decide to read it?
I have no rules for myself. No number of books I must hit this year (though I would love to read 50 if I can). I’m not vowing to read a certain number of any type of book. I just want to track my reading and see which books did I hurry up and finish quickly, which ones I stalled on, and which authors I read more of, less of, etc. I do think just like keeping a food diary helps you be mindful of what you’re eating, having a book “diary” will help me be more mindful of what I read, who I read, and why I read what I read.
I’m excited about this, will share my results at the end of 2016, but wanted to share in case you wanted to do one of your own, and in the meantime as I get my TBR pile ready, my question for you, any books you plan to read in 2016? Any reading goals of your own?