It's probably the most common writing advice: read, read, read.
But if you don't even have time to write, how the heck are you going to find time to read?
You make time, that's how. Just like you make (or should make) time to write.
(Did you write today?)
There are lots of ways to make time to read, whether you're a parent, a student, have a job, or a mountain of laundry to do.
Most of the time, I would say I read at least fifteen to thirty minutes each day, not counting blogs and websites. I'm talking about purely for pleasure reading.
Here's how I make time to read every single day.
First figure out how to have your reading material with you.
1. Get a Kindle/Nook. Okay, I don't have one of these (yet), but if you're looking for the most convenient option, this is it. You carry all your books with you on one device and read wherever you want. Not to mention there are tons of affordable e-readers and ebooks out there.
2. Get the Kindle/Nook app. For those of us on a stricter budget, there are the free reading apps. I use the Kindle reading app on my phone and Mac. I love it. I can easily sync my devices, which allows me to read books on my computer at home then read on my smart phone on the go right where I left off. These apps are also convenient, not to mention free.
3. Carry a book with you at all times. Maybe you hate technology. Maybe you already have a paper copy of what you want to read. Yet you never get around to reading a book. It can be hard to find a niche of time specifically for reading. So carry the book around with you. Ladies, big purses are your best friend for this. You know what I'm talking about. I stick my book in the diaper bag on my way out the door. Find what works for you.
4. Leave books around the places you frequent the most. Such as your nightstand or in the car. This way it's easy to make reading a habit. For example, read for ten minutes before going to bed. Or for five minutes before you get out of the car when you get home. You'll be surprised how relaxed you'll feel after you immerse yourself in a good story.
While you may not have a straight hour or two each day to just read interruption-free, you'll read just as much if you read in bits and pieces. That's the trick. Find tiny opportunities to squeeze it in. Five minutes here. Ten minutes there. Those minutes add up.
I read when I'm waiting to be called at the doctor's office. I read for five minutes right after I put my little one down for a nap. I read when I'm waiting for the pasta to boil for ten full minutes.
Finding time to fit in reading is easier than it seems. And it's a great way to pick up grammar and writing skills.
One more thing.
Keep these things in mind when you pick your reading material. I think what we read is just as important as how much we read.
1. Read different genres. Get variety, like when we hear that we should eat different colors of veggies and fruits. You never know what you might come across or what you might like. Be open minded and give different genres a try. This is also good for sparking new ideas or exploring different directions for your writing.
2. Pick something enjoyable. Remember this is supposed to be fun. If you're not loving your current book, put it down and grab something else. Despite what you might have learned, there is nothing wrong with not finishing a book.
Remember reading is the best way to learn to write. So get reading. (And writing.)
How do you make time to read? What are you reading right now?