"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


...when everything else seems to get in the way.

I know we've all been there. We claim we can't read the latest next best paranormal romance because we don't have time. We can't possibly squeeze in a book on the writing craft because we have too many things on our plate. I mean we have kids and jobs and lives. How can reading possibly get any kind of priority, especially when we're trying to crank out some writing, too? This just goes beyond the impossible. This is just asking too much.

FALSE, I say! Just flat out false!

We here at the place (being K. A. Holt, Jessica Lee Anderson , E. Kristin Anderson, Madeline Smoot, Mari Mancusi, and sometimes member Jenny Ziegler) are going to disagree with the global statement that there is no time to read. We have the answers you need.

We give you the Top Ten Ways to Make Time for Reading:

1) Locate an isolated closet in the house.
Purchase a reading light and a year's supply of batteries. Using crayons, create a "DO NOT DISTURB" banner to post on the door. Tell your family to respect the banner. When they call for you, do not answer.

2) Read during your daily commute.
Unless you're the driver. In which case you should listen to audiobooks.
Actually whether you commute or not, audiobooks are a fantastic way to add extra books to your list. They make cleaning and cooking and commuting and grocery shopping and everything better.

3) Set aside an hour at bedtime before turning off the light.
This might mean turning off your TV and laptop earlier to make time to snuggle up with a book, or it could mean staying up a little later. Either way, it's great relax-y time.
And really, even if you're too tired, it's okay to fall asleep reading.

4) Visit the library with your family.
Everyone gets to curl up with a book for a while.
(Yes, admittedly, this will make some moms roll around with laughter. It's very kid dependent.)

5) Buy a pair of reading glasses, download the appropriate app, and read a novel on your cell phone.
Just think how fast you can flip through those words.

6) Always keep a book on your person.
In your purse, in your manpurse, on your phone, whatever. Then, wherever you are, you have something to read.
Take *that* line at the post office.

7) Read aloud to your kids.
But you get to pick the book and they have to listen. It's the perfect opportunity to re-read THE HOBBIT while spending time with your family. They're happy so long as they get to hear your voice.

Always the perfect read-aloud

8 ) Turn 'date night' into a 'reading date night' and alternate reading pages out loud to your significant other.

9) Stop watching TV.
I know, it's hard to fathom this, right? But all of "your shows"... well, they don't need you. The feeling is not mutual.

For the record, Star Trek is an exception.
Geordi LaForge—I mean Levar Burton—knew how to find the right balance.

10) Stop making excuses.
Stop pretending reading doesn't matter for your writing. That writing is the only thing that matters. Reading does matter. It matters more than anything else. So read a book already.


E. Kristin Anderson said...

Another top-notch list for us! Will repost on my blog later this week. WIN!

(Way to get Star Trek in there again. You are SNEAKY!)

Josette said...

Those are great ideas, thanks! :D Oh yeah, excuses have always been my number one reason why I'm not reading. It's time to do away with them!

Miriam S. Forster said...

"Read a book already." LOL.

Seriously though, people ask me how I read so much. My answer is always two-fold. I carry a book (or two) with me everywhere, and I read in small sips.

Take work for example. On a full 8-hour day, I have two ten minute breaks and a thirty-minute lunch. Then I usually read for ten minutes after getting off of work. That's an hour of reading. It adds up! :)

Book Monster said...

2,3,6 and 10 I do :)

Cheree said...

Great list. I really love audible, I make really long commutes to my families home a lot... one book gets me home.

Laura Pauling said...

Ha ha! I don't know about the reading date night. Esp. since we'd read very different things, but it's a nice try. :) All the others I agree with.

Su said...

I do love Levar Burton. He's the one who gave me permission to read so much in the first place! :)

Heather Zundel said...

Great list! I especially love the quote "They don't need you. The feeling is not mutual." :)

Marcia said...

I do a lot of these. Can't read in a moving car, though. *turns green and gags.* And yes, ALWAYS have a book with you.

Natalie Aguirre said...

This is great advice. I always have an audio book for exercising, long drives, and doing work around the house. And I mostly read at night rather than watch TV. Even with this, there are tons of books I can’t get to. But I’m glad I read as much as I do.

Beth S. said...

Great list! I completely agree that you can always find time for reading. Even if it's just ten minutes at a time. The carrying a book with you at all times is crucial. Every time I go somewhere and I'm stuck without a book I always panic and think, "I could've read twenty pages in the time I've been waiting here."

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Emily! And yes, sneaky Star Trek is key.

Excuses always seem to be the root of evil, Josette. I must eliminate them :)

Miriam, you are my reading superstar model. I will never be able to match you in this.

Excellent, Book Monster!

PJ Hoover said...

Cheree, I adore audiobooks! Well, some of them. Some book are just not suited for audio. But yes, there is nothing like a really long drive for this!

Laura, I'm not sure about that one either. It sounds good in theory, but I haven't seen it happen yet.

Su, he rocks. On the show. Well, I guess both shows.

LOL, Heather! I loved that part, too. It made me smile when I typed it.

PJ Hoover said...

I know what you mean, Marcia, about the moving car, but it's always so tempting. And then, yes, sickening.

Exactly me too, Natalie! I read whenever possible and love everything I get to.

OMG, Beth, I know exactly what you mean. I love when I'm prepared for the long moments and am able to take full advantage of them.

Cialina at Muggle-Born.net said...

Haha, I love the first suggestion, but there's no way I'd fit in any of the closets in my house. Too small and too many things! Fun read. Thanks for posting. :)

PJ Hoover said...

Cialina, I'm embarrassed to say my closets are much the same way. There is one I could fit in, but otherwise...

Anonymous said...

i'm already doing everything you have mentioned (except 1 and 5). :D what is working for me the best:
- setting a goal like reading one book a week because just saying "i will read more" isn't getting me anywhere
- i always have a book in my purse (can't wait to purchase e-reader because i don't really like to carry heavy books)
- listening to audio books when i can't sleep, when doing household chores etc. :)