I didn’t do it on purpose, and it hasn’t stopped 100%, but I’ve only read 5.5 fiction books this year.
That might as well be nothing.
I feel like I’ve lost a huge part of what makes me me. Like a lot of you, I grew up with books. In school, I finished my work as quickly as possible so I could get back to my stories. On weekends, I read multiple books (unless I was reading a fat fantasy) and any time I had down time, I was reading. I remember a couple of days when I worked as an elementary school librarian. I was reading the Hallows series by Kim Harrison, and I literally hid behind the circulation desk, finishing “just one more chapter” because I was so hooked by the story.
I even felt guilty because my emotions were so strongly invested into fictional characters’ lives. Something had to have been wrong with me because I wasn’t as emotionally invested in the real world.
How did I lose that passion? That love for reading? How can I go days, weeks, even months without reading more than a sentence or two of a book, then deciding to go to sleep instead of learning what happens next?
I have a few theories. The steep decline in my reading occurred in 2011, the year:
My first book was published. Perhaps become a writer has made me too picky? Perhaps having control of my characters’ lives makes me want to have control over other author’s characters, and I can’t handle not being their creator? Perhaps I don’t read because I feel so guilty about not writing faster?
I had twins. I will admit a large amount of my mind and my creative energy is consumed by them. They’re getting older and easier, but I still try to find ways to take care of them and teach them. I am so lacking in mom skills and ideas that I frequently get lost on Pinterest. And then, at the end of the day when they’re in bed and I could be reading, all I want to do is go to sleep.
I started reading ebooks instead of paper. Does this have an affect on my reading? It seems like it could. Maybe, subconsciously, my brain doesn’t connect with digital as much as it connected with paper.
I got an iphone. I’m not sure when this happened, but it was around 2011, and I’ve started reading blogs, emails, news, Pinterest, etc on my phone. And I played Candy Crush. The digital books that I’ve read have all been on my iphone because I always have it with me. Maybe all the other activities I do on my phone take away from my willingness to stare at it any longer to read.
And maybe the reason I’ve stopped reading is a combination of all the things above. I’ve just had so much trouble “getting into” books, and after so many tries of different stories by different authors in different genres, it can’t be the books. It has to be me.
I hate not reading. And it’s especially bad because I’m an author, and I truly, honestly believe the most important thing an author can do to improve his or her craft is to read. It’s a requirement of this job, and I’m sucking at it.
But I’m not giving up. I’m going to fix this. I’m going to find my love of reading again. I’m going to:
1. Switch back to print books.
2. Set aside 30 minutes (or more if I’m hooked!) every day to read, no matter how good or bad my writing is going.
3. No more iphone in front of the kids. Only print books. This is better parenting anyway.
4. Check Pinterest only
once twice three times a day.
5. Delete Candy Crush. (Already done. Take that level 305!)
Have you ever lost your love of reading? Do you know why? How did you fix it?