How to Build a Regular Reading Habit

How to Build a Regular Reading Habit - Reading Tips from Novels and Nebulas

Whenever I mention reading to my friends and acquaintances in real life, most people seem to be firmly divided into two categories – those who want to read but can’t seem to find the time and those who think reading is a boring habit. I do appreciate the honesty of the second group but if you are reading this, you probably already know reading is good for you. This guide is for the first group of people who want to build a reading habit but can’t seem to for a variety of reasons.

Step 1: Set a clear reading goal

This is the most basic step in cultivating any habit. Talking about reading is well and good, but actually sitting down to do it may feel daunting. As a beginner, you may have no idea what an achievable goal looks like for you.

Let me give you an example on how to solve this. Have you used the Google Fit app to track your health? When I started using it, I set the recommended World Health Organisation numbers for my goals. After a few days, as I entered my data, it prompted me to increase them. The same principle can be applied here – start small and build up from there.

Starting small can mean different things to different people. For beginners, a realistic reading goal can be one book per month of your choice. If you are looking to build a consistent reading habit, you can set aside 30 minutes in your daily schedule instead.

Accountability plays a big role in sticking to your goals when it comes to building new habits. The best way to do this would be on social media or asking a loved one to keep track of your progress or using online tools to help you stay on track.

Resources

Goodreads is a great place to keep track of your reading habit if you have a number of books type of goal. I have found the Goodreads Reading Challenge year-on-year useful to motivate myself to read.

Do you like to keep track of reading with beautiful pie charts to look at your stats? Fadwa @ Word Wonders, the queen of organization, recently published her 2020 reading tracker spreadsheet that you can copy and play around with to help you do just that. Click here to have a look!

Do you prefer an analog way to keep track of things? Do you use a bullet journal to organize your life? Check out these ideas from Lisa and Things to set up a reading tracker in your journal.

Step 2: Identify the right genre

It’s human nature to prefer some things over others and it holds true when it comes to reading as well. As you can probably tell, I’m partial to fantasy and science-fiction genres over others.

It is important to understand how the books are written depending on the target audience. Adult books have darker themes and explicit content that is mostly absent in young adult and middle grade books. There is also a difference in the way heavy themes are handled and presented. The major age ranges are children’s books, middle grade, young adult, new adult and adult.

If you are a movie buff or watch a lot of TV shows, you will have a fair idea as to what kind of stories are your cup of tea. Brainstorm and come up with topics you would like to learn more about or elements that you enjoy in fiction.

Do you love Disney princess movies? Middle grade fantasy may be a great place to start! Do you like a complex plot that keeps you guessing? Maybe try an adult thriller. If you are in need of help, talk to a reader friend, a librarian or a bookseller.

Resources

Are you into gaming or love the idea of virtual reality? Check out these 10 book recommendations that will suit your taste and help you get cracking on building a reading habit.

If you’re a fantasy fan like me, enjoy playing Dungeons and Dragons or had heart eyes when you were watching The Lord of the Rings, Justine @ I Should Read That talks about her adult fantasy favourites, which you can use as a starting point.

If you’re not into SFF at all but looking for books that will motivate you, help you build better habits and transform your life, check out the 20 best motivational books to read by the Developing Good Habits blog.

Step 3: Make a TBR (To Be Read) pile

Once you have identified a genre and age range, find out the most popular books in that. This is where a website like Goodreads will come in handy. Book blogs are also an amazing option. You can also go to a library and get the librarian to help you choose.

I’d suggest going through the popular book lists online and shortlisting a few. After reading the synopsis, narrow it down to three books that grab your attention. Try reading the first few pages of all and continue with whichever book you are most entertained by.

I’d also recommend going for shorter books such as novellas or short story collections if you can’t set aside a big chunk of time to read. If you believe that long sections of text don’t hold your interest, check out graphic novels or illustrated editions of books.

If your command on the language is quite basic, try to look for books that are written for middle grade or young adult age ranges. Books published a long time ago used a lot of flowery language, so classics may not be the best fit for you.

Resources

Here are my favourite people from around the book blogging universe whose book recommendations I trust –

Step 4: Get the right format of the book

The way in which we read has dramatically changed over the years. Physical books, although still popular, are being taken over by e-books and audiobooks. If you’re the kind of person who has very little time to read, consider getting the e-book or audiobook as they are so much more convenient.

I’m gravitating towards audiobooks these days because I don’t want to stress my eyes after a long day at work. If you are an auditory learner, this could be a better option as well. My favourite thing about audiobooks is that they increase the accessibility of books to a wider audience.

E-books have become a staple for me since I started book blogging. I use a Kindle device, the Kindle app on my smartphone and my laptop. What I love about this format is that I can always have a book to read no matter where I am. E-books are generally priced lower than hardcovers, so I highly recommend giving them a try.

Resources

Are you new to the concept of audiobooks? Are you unsure where to listen to them and how to stay focused while reading them? Catriona @ Little Book Owl‘s guide to audiobooks will answer any questions you might have.

If you are looking for a platform in India that has a good collection and also doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket, check out my favourite reading app these days, Storytel. For a reasonable fee every month, you get access to all the e-books and audiobooks in their collection. I’m happy to report that I have over 150 books from my favourite genres on my Storytel TBR currently!

Are you based in the US and searching for a good audiobook service that helps out your community? Look no further than Libro.fm, a small business that helps you buy audiobooks from local bookstores. Check out this step-by-step guide to help you discover a new way of reading.

Step 5: Refine your reading habit

The last and final step is to fall in love with reading, which is the easiest of them all. As you begin to enjoy the first few books you read, try other books by the same author, similar books that have been released recently or retellings – the list just goes on and on.

Once you have been going strong for a while and you find that one book is easily doable, measure how many you can finish per month on an average and change it to that number. If reading every day was your goal but you had to miss a day because of unavoidable reasons, don’t be too hard on yourself. Try to make up for it another day or transform your goal to a certain number of hours per week or per month.

To get more involved and keep yourself motivated, begin discussing what you’ve read and learnt with like-minded people online or join a book club. Support the local library or bookstores near you. You can also attend author signings or literary festivals so you can connect with the bookish community.

However, please remember to be kind to yourself as a reader, be it for the amount of books you manage to read or for the kind of books you enjoy or even the fact that you love books. Don’t beat yourself up if you fail a few times. Just keep trying and tailoring your goals to fit your daily schedule and life situation.

Resources

Stars and Sorcery is a monthly book club on Twitter dedicated to reading SFF by authors of colour. If you are passionate about diversity and looking to add some magic to your TBR every month, fill out the form linked in the bio. There are monthly chats discussing the chosen books each month, giveaways and other fun stuff!

South Asian Reading Challenge is a year-long reading challenge aims to hype up books by authors of South Asian descent. With monthly themes, Instagram challenges and spotlight on new releases, it has a bit of something for everyone. This isn’t a stressful reading challenge with a hundred prompts, so it is ideal for those just starting to build a consistent reading habit.

Are you inspired to review books and set up your own book blog? Check out this comprehensive guide from Christine @ The Uncorked Librarian to get a thorough understanding of what it takes and how to go about it. If you do start a blog inspired by this post, don’t forget to leave a link in the comments section so I can check it out!

I hope that this post has given you the confidence and tools to build a reading habit that sticks. If you’re already a book lover, what more would you like to add to this? Do you remember which book turned you into a reader or got you into your favourite genre? Let me know in the comments section down below. Have a stellar weekend, readers from Earth!

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How to Build a Regular Reading Habit - Reading Tips from Novels and Nebulas

27 thoughts on “How to Build a Regular Reading Habit”

  1. OH MY GOD! How amazing is this new blog design and oooofff, the aesthetic is on point, Dini <3 Also, loved this post; it's so helpful and I'm sure you're gonna give us more such interesting stuff to read and look out for WOHOOOO

    1. Thank you so much, Fanna! πŸ’– The post is still not “perfect”, so I haven’t been hyping it up on social media yet. πŸ™ˆ But I’m glad you found it helpful and liked the design! 😊

    1. Thank you so much, Fadwa! πŸ’– This post is dedicated to the non-readers in my life who want to start reading. I eventually hope to write posts for advanced readers and book bloggers too. *fingers crossed*

  2. Omg I love every bit of the revamp! Especially ‘leave a trail of stardust’ 😍
    Great first post, I can’t wait to see more posts here!

  3. Nandini! I’m loving the new look! The ‘leave a trail of stardust’ by the reply section is so CUTE! Can’t wait to see what you have planned further.
    All this is so true – people shouldn’t be forced to read and there’s so many books for everyone – you just have to find out what you like and carry on from there.
    30 minutes of reading is definitely a good starter goal. Even if you just read a few pages while you wait for your food to cook/or arrive via takeaways, or even if you’re waiting for an episode to buffer or download – you might not even want to carry on watching once you get into the book!

    1. Thank you so much! πŸ’– I’m so glad you like the new design and all the little elements. 😊
      Yes, you make an excellent point about when people can squeeze in some reading. Now that I’m an adult, that’s how I’m finding time to read, in between getting other stuff done. It also often happens that I get so involved in the book that I forget about the other thing. πŸ˜…

      1. It’s all spacey and blue!
        Oh yeah. Back in high school I was able to read a 500 page book in a couple hours and now I’m lucky if I finish that in a week!
        Totally – if we have people over, the phones stay away until they leave – which, depending on who they are and how close we are to them, they’ll stay longer.

  4. Nandini!!!! Why I am seeing this post so late πŸ™ This post is awesome. And I love love love your new blog design. It is fantastic. And the little things that you have added like.. leave a trail of stardust… makes it more personal. Also., I checked your Review Request page and you have done it so creatively. I love the idea πŸ™‚ (I might use it in future :P) Also love the About page. I hope you are yet to add more text to that page?
    Also, a little suggestion if you don’t mind. If you can find a illustrated galaxy image for your header background, that would be even more awesome πŸ™‚

    1. Oh, no problem at all! I’m so glad you like it all! πŸ’– Yes, most of my pages are under construction (even Review Requests page has little things I’ve not done yet) but I decided to go ahead and post anyway. I’ll get to them as and when I find time. πŸ™ˆ
      Thanks for the suggestion! Of course I don’t mind, you know me. I’ll try to hunt around for one. 😊

  5. This is a wonderful post, Nandini! Perfect for rookie readers, full of useful resources and patient advice. If someone asks me help on how to start reading more, I’m just going to point to this post of yours.
    The overall space aesthetic is on point😍
    Love how the blockquotes jump while scrolling!!
    I couldn’t find the like button though, am I just not looking properly…?

    1. Thank you so much, Mathangi! πŸ’– This post was intended for all the rookie readers in my life.
      Ah, I’m not sure. I’ll need to check my Jetpack settings. I’ll keep you posted. 😊

  6. I’ve always considered myself a book lover but recently, I really can’t seem to read πŸ™ It’s become a struggle for me to be a regular in reading a book and it pains me a lot because I don’t have this problem before. I remember a few years back, I could finish almost three books in a day and now I can’t even seem to read a chapter.

    1. Oh no! I hope this post was helpful in giving you some idea on how to solve your problem. Please let me know if your reading habit is getting any better or if you have any questions. 😊

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