Xandra and I first connected through Twitter and soon after met up for veggie food at Wild Food Cafe as we'd both recently moved to London. She became one of my first friends in the UK and although she now lives in Edinburgh, we're in touch almost everyday, keeping each other accountable to our blogging and business goals. On her website, Heroine Training, Xandra teaches her readers how to become the heroine of their own life. Today she's talking about how reading for fun can be an act of self-love, and how to do it. The happiest, most inquisitive, and most empathetic people I know read for fun.
I used to see reading as a chore, or an assignment. In third grade, this was encouraged by the ongoing homework assignment of a daily “20 minutes of reading” (My teacher didn’t believe me when I said I read 120 minutes of Harry Potter). So from a young age, reading was about proving myself, unfortunately.
For some reason pleasure reading can be considered an unproductive, or purely indulgent use of time. Well, if you’re going to indulge (and I suggest you do, of course), you might as well make the most of it. Here’s how to enjoy reading for fun, guilt-free:
Accept that you can’t read All the Books.
I used to feel guilty when I hadn’t read a certain book, especially a well-known one. But really, it’s a silly thing to expect someone to have read everything, because we all know that’s impossible.
Limit your reading list to books you’re actually excited to read.
I aim to read about a book a week, so at the beginning of the year I wrote down every title I planned to read. I only swap out titles when I’m really inspired to. Goodbye never-ending stress-inducing reading lists.
Join a book club.
Sarah has introduced me to some inspiring titles I had never head of through her Self-Love Book Club! I also love attending Edinburgh’s Golden Hare Books club, for keeping up with a diverse range of important titles and discussing them with likeminded bookworms. Plus, a monthly deadline keeps up my reading pace and reminds me that I love to read!
Don’t carry your book around all day.
Radical! I used to open my book to get in a paragraph whenever I could, but now my fun reading is restricted to my bedside table. This saves so much time in trying to remember what was happening, and getting your head back in the storybook world. Of course, sometimes I make exceptions for page turners that I just can’t put down, but this is rare.
Read every night and every morning.
Reading helps me to wind down from and warm up for the day.
Don’t obsess over your progress.
If you find your eyes constantly flicking to the page number or the kindle progress percentage, find a solution now. I used to calculate how many pages I needed to read to finish by x date, but I feel better reading about 25 pages twice a day instead. I don’t let myself look at the page number until I’m at the end of the chapter, which sometimes means reading over my “goal”, which feels great! You can also set a gentle timer and bliss out in your book until it rings.
What are your best tips for enjoying reading? And - the ever-pressing question - what should I read next?