I am a writer. Or, at least, I identify myself as one.
And for writers, perhaps reading books is something inseparable to their lives. In fact, I can personally testify that I wouldn’t have known half the joy of my life were it not for reading and discovering great books.
I know what people think of us: A writer is supposed to not only write every day, but also read books at every single second of their waking hours. They are expected to have bazillion of books in their houses and hold them in separated vaults for future references.
I know it might sound overly stereotypical, but I also can’t completely deny it. For the most part, I would love that kind of life. I mean, who wouldn’t love a life where I can just sit idly all day, either equipped with my laptop to write my next prose or a book to immerse myself in someone else’s creation? That would be like going into a writing retreat every single day of my life!
Yet, in reality, I have a very ugly confession to make: I don’t really read that much anymore.
For several years, I was convinced that I was reading enough books; I was very into Harry Potter during my younger years, and I even finished reading Lord of the Rings in three days. I read Twilight, Hunger Games, and countless other titles.
That was the time when I would practically read anything I could get my hands into. I couldn’t care less about the genre, the targeted audience, or the settings of the book. Anything I could read, I read.
But when I look back at it now, I could not find joy in reading anymore.
You know… at least in the last few years.
I have gotten so entangled with my day job and my own life that I simply didn’t have enough time to spare for my readings. My Mortal Instruments series
(yes, that series which has been on the market for quite a while now) has been neglected for far too long, and I don’t even feel guilty for buying the books without reading them.
Before I knew it, I found myself fallen too deeply into this cycle of doom.
I would pick up a book at my local bookstore, decide that I would actually like it, buy it, only to neglect it on later days.
Now, I know that as a writer, I technically need to feed myself off these tomes. And I really regret that I don’t anymore. I really want to get back to reading as much as I want to get back to writing, but things have changed.
I’m not the little kid that stood by the lane on bookstores to catch a glimpse of the latest Potter series launching event anymore. I’m not the teenager who raved Hunger Games and Twilight and Eragon, in hopes that they would made my mundane days at school slightly better.
I have grown up. And I unconsciously removed reading from my priority list. I am deeply ashamed of that.
Some of the (possible) reasons why I have stopped finding enjoyment in reading:
- Day job limits my reading time.
I sleep during my commute to and from the office, and I spend most of my lunch breaks either with clients or with friends. Sneaking in a few pages during working hours is clearly not a good idea.
- Busy schedules makes me to tired to read.
By the time I reach home, it would usually be 10 PM already. All I would want is to curl in my bed and sleep. Reading—or any other activity that requires strenuous thinking and focused mind—would be too exhausting.
- Other hobbies makes me deprioritize reading.
It’s really easy to get lost in my writings, like when I wrote a whole novel in 9 days. Aside from that, I also regularly watches anime series during weekends, which consumes a lot of time—if not all the time—I have during Saturdays and Sundays.
Of course, I don’t say that I have stopped reading altogether; I still sometimes read fanfictions, blog, articles, and newsfeed. But it has become increasingly harder for me to finish a longer piece of writing—novels, in particular—without getting disoriented with my busy schedule.
And when I start getting disoriented… that’s when I usually drop the book I’m reading at the moment, which sadly happens almost all the time.
I just buy books to fill my bookshelves and to justify myself as an avid reader (because I still buy books). This is worse than a mere reading slump, because truly it seems like I have lost my interest for paperback.
And that’s coming from someone who used to despise e-books.
Here’s the thing. It came over me tonight that maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t really trying to justify myself as a reader by buying books I don’t read. Maybe I was just trying to get back to it without any plan or knowledge about how. Maybe I stopped reading because I have so much to do in my life that I shoved it aside altogether.
I know I have to change, because the reality speaks for itself: a writer feeds from books. And not just fanfictions, online stories, articles, or newsfeed (although those are good, too), but from real books. Paperbacks. Hard cover. Whatever their forms are. And I really long for the day I could hold a book in my hand again and read it from start to finish without actually dropping it.
Nonetheless, I know I would not succeed without a plan, which is what inspired me to write this blog post.
I can make an oath to myself without telling everyone about this, but that will only serve as an excuse when I get tired of reading. You know, the kind of “Oh, I never told anyone that I promised myself to get back to reading, so I might as well forget about it.”
I know it’s March already, and it wouldn’t make much sense trying to pretend I already started doing things to achieve these goals since January. But I am going to list what I’m determined to do anyway, because why the heck not.
Here are my super late 2018 reading goals:
- Read at least 100 books a year, or if this is too ambitious—
- Finish 1 book per week.
- Only buy a book for every single book I finished reading.
- Read at least 20 non-fiction books in 2018.
- Get a Kindle Paperwhite, since I think it’s about time to get used to e-readers
- Out of the 100 books goal, at least 30 of them should be read in e-book format.
Those are fairly simple goals, but hereby I declare I would do everything in my power to fulfil all five of the goals written above.
On that note, do you guys experience reading slumps, too? What do you guys do to get back into a reading spree? Leave a comment below and let me know! I’d sure love to know how other people deal with this problem.
Finally, if you’re like me, and you’re struggling to get back to your reading, fear not! Let’s overcome this slump together. I know this might sound weird coming from someone who is also struggling to read more, but my best advice is to re-read a novel that you know you liked. Not only will you be excited to read it again, chances are, it would start the streaks of finished books you will have in this year.
Good luck trying and stay inspired, everyone!
I will be posting new content every Saturdays, be it writerly stuff, or just things that I like to write about. This includes my own stories, information about my books, and things that interest me. Keep yourself updated by following me on Twitter and Instagram.
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