READY – needs Audible link, Texture link, additional images and sidebar checks.
The plague of a reader (and even more so, a writer) is the inability to find time to read.
Aside from the simple pleasure of reading, writers need to inhale the writing of others to create strong content of their own and to get their creative juices flowing. Bloggers need to read blogs to understand how others present content and tackle layout, design and turning a phrase.
I used to be very opposed to “reading” in any manner other than holding a book or magazine in my hands… mostly on principle. As a lover of words, it felt like cheating to consider digital publications – or worse, audiobooks.
However, it became evident I couldn’t just keep acquiring and stockpiling books and magazines. For one thing, I have a finite amount of space in my home. And even more compelling, I was becoming increasingly passionate about going paperless, simplifying, decluttering and simply owning less stuff.
I adjusted my attitude and my approach, and the unexpected result is that I now consume far more content than I ever could in the past.
It seems like many people I talk to are sheepish – they keep meaning to take up audiobooks, podcasts and digital publications… but they haven’t. I think it is because it seems overwhelming or requires changing habits.
So I’m here to nudge you.
1. Join Audible and listen to audiobooks
This has had the single highest impact on my ability to consume more content, and as a self-described “Amazon subsidiary with a startup vibe and small company feel,” Audible has a fantastic selection of titles as well as a free audio subscription to The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times.
Plus, you’ll often have the chance to hear the author read their work, which lends amazing richness to an already enjoyable book. From David Sedaris and his dry, almost bored tone making me collapse in fits of laughter to Mireille Guiliano’s sophisticated French purr reminding me why French Women Don’t Get Fat, I have loved this feature. Even when a non-author narrates, the quality is outstanding. Here are a few more of my tips on why and how to listen to Audible.
2. Read digital books via Kindle.
This was a tough one for me, because of the stereotypical “I love the feel of a book in my hand!” objection. But guess what? Once I got over it, I simply read more books. Yes, there are most certainly books I want to own and enjoy in hardback on my shelf. You know what else is nice? Not having hundreds of paperback quick reads accumulating dust in my home.
This is a hard one for true reading enthusiasts (and even more so for writers) because we love the idea of collecting a library full of treasured tomes as though they are literary badges of honor. And they are – treasured books are special, and books are not going away. However, we don’t have to display books to prove we read them, and we aren’t cheating on authors by purchasing electronic versions. In fact, we may be placing higher value on their work by literally purchasing their words without the exterior packaging.
And trust me: once you make the leap and sit on a plane clutching 20 books for vacation all housed on a device that weighs less than a pound, you will have the fever. Here’s a bit more on reading via the Kindle app on any device (even if you don’t own one) and how to read digital books inexpensively.
3. Listen to podcasts.
It turns out that podcasts are intimidating for a lot of people – as though it’s something only hip millennials do. The sheer breadth of podcasts and topics available is incredibly exciting, so you are most certainly missing out if you deny yourself the delight of seeking out a few to try.
I dislike the term “self-help” despite realizing several years ago that much of the content I enjoy falls into this category… so I was happy to recently come across the term self-development. Now that’s a concept I can embrace! I tend toward podcasts in the realm of learning, growing, acquiring new skills or improving the way I work, write, parent and live.
If digital and audio books are my pleasure reading, podcasts are my continuing education. Get started: here’s my recommendation on the best podcast listening app and my current favorite podcasts.
4. Read magazines via Texture.
While last on my list, this is one of the first moves I made when trying to seriously simplify my life in 2012. I’ve always had a problem with magazines – I have loved and hoarded them since I was a teenager.
In addition to the physical accumulation, it was a pricey habit – my wide range of interests meant that I wanted to subscribe to dozens of magazines every year. Texture first came on the scene as Next Issue (a competitor to Zinio) in 2009, and a few years later I joined and haven’t looked back. I have access to hundreds of magazines, from Cooking Light to Fast Company and Real Simple, as well as super niche publications (such as Wine Enthusiast or kids’ magazines) and foreign titles such as French mag Châtelaine. Here’s a bit more on why I love Texture plus a free 2 week trial2 if you’d like to try it out.
The bottom line?
Once I made the leap and untethered myself from how I thought I was supposed to read, I simply began reading more.
My books can join me on my commute and my entire library can board a flight with me. I can read while picking up groceries, running errands, waiting on my kids at piano practice and while I unload the dishwasher.
Instead of being held captive on my nightstand, my library is constantly within reach.
Plus, let’s face it… by the time I climb into bed I’m usually too tired to pick up something to read.
If you “no longer have time to read” or you’ve been putting off audiobooks, electronic books, podcasts and digital magazines for whatever reason, I hope you’ll make the leap.
I’d love to hear what you’re going to read next!