Stephen King says he reads everywhere—-waiting in line, at the dinner table, walking. I must say, there is a man who walks around my small town reading. I don’t know how he does it, and I certainly wonder if it’s safe to do so. Number one, I have to watch where I’m walking, or I’ll trip over my own toes. Number two, the whole reading/walking thing could get very bouncy, especially at the speed this gentleman walks. (I wonder if he’s doing it to lose weight, which brings about a whole new set of questions. Is he walking fast enough to keep his heartrate at optimal levels for fat burning? Why doesn’t he just walk on a treadmill? What happens if he gets to the end of a book and isn’t back home—does he have a spare in his back pocket?)
Writers are encouraged to read. Without reading, we won’t know what’s out there to compare with our own work. Without reading, we won’t grow as writers (because there are lessons to be learned when reading authors who write better than us—-and worse than us—-even if we’re just reading for pleasure). Without reading, I don’t think someone could really call themselves a writer. It’s essential. You have nothing to gain if you don’t read.
I’m torn. I love to read, but I also love to write, and sometimes, I feel like reading takes away from the precious little time I have to write. So, I’m trying to sneak in more reading. Here’s how (and yes, it has a lot to do with audiobooks):
- Audiobooks were made for authors!
If you’ve never listened to an audiobook, go and download one right now. You can often get them for free from your library (you just need a card and a PIN), or make a purchase—-they’re not that expensive. Once you get over the idea of someone reading a story to you, they’re great! You can listen to them in the car, while you’re making dinner, at the gym or even grocery shopping. Think of all those wasted hours and tasks you have to do, but can’t carry around a book. An audiobook can be transfered to an iPod, your cell phone, a tablet or computer. Now you don’t have any more excuses. (Added reading hours = 2+)
2. Carry an eReader in your bag.
You don’t have to own a dedicated eReader to enjoy eBooks. Sure, they make handy little devices now that can access webpages, help you keep up with email and Facebook, and even take photos. But you can also just use your cellphone, if you find you don’t mind the small print. Download an eBook (most new releases are available right away in eBook format) and read it while you’re waiting for the bus/train/plane/ice cream truck. Or pull out that eReader while waiting in the doctor’s office (they’re never on time). eBooks are also fantastic when you travel. You can load tons of books and never have to carry anything more than a few ounces to the beach! (Added reading hours = 2+)
3. Reading during commercials can save you money!
Okay, so maybe it’ll be difficult to prove that reading during commercials will save you money. But the ads are there to put products into your subconcious, right? If you don’t watch the ads, then you won’t suddenly have a craving for a Blizzard or feel the need to buy a new car. Keep your book right next to you on the couch, and read on commercials. It might also save you a few calories. Hard to eat when you’re holding a book in both hands.(Added reading hours = 10 min.+)
4. Take your breaks!
Most of us have lunchbreaks and some even have scheduled coffee breaks. Instead of running off to grab a chocolate bar from the vending machine, or even worse, skipping your break altogether, pick up your book and read! There’s an extra 10 minutes to an hour or more each day when you can slip in some reading. Sure, your co-workers might tease you at first, but when you’re raving to them about the newest best-seller, they’ll be scrambling to get a copy of their own! (Added reading hours = 1 – 5 hours+)
5. Read in the shower!
Okay, thought I’d get your interest with that one. No, I don’t mean bring a book into the shower with you, but here’s where audiobooks have totally changed my life. I spend so much time getting ready each morning, that I realized it was prime opportunity to listen to a book. I set up my cell on the counter, turn up the volume on my book and hop in the shower. Sometimes, if the book is sooooooo good I can’t stop listening, I’ll pop in some earphones while drying my hair and continue listening. It’s an extra 5+ hours a week that I can put into a book. (I’m pretty high maintenance. It might only give you an extra 30 minutes or so, but you get the point.)
How do YOU sneak in extra reading during the day? I’d love to hear your suggestions!