Tuesday, December 31, 2013

How To Read More Books In 2014

Reading Resolution Survival Tips. 

Anyone up to a reading challenge? I’m starting one for myself and anyone else who’d like to join.

The Freestyle Reading Challenge.

Sounds lovely, doesn't it? Not a gushy or creative title, but I’m open to suggestions. =)

This challenge is not confined to a certain genre or time schedule as long as the goal number is accomplished before the end of the year.

My personal 2014 goal: 50 books. Small, but it’s twice the number of titles I read this year. (I shot for 75 and read 25. Shame on me.) Plus, next year I’ll be working on two new writing projects and finishing up an old one, so I don’t want to aim too high and get discouraged.

Here are some tips I’m going to use to stick with the plan:

1. Set a reasonable goal. But push yourself a little past your comfort level so you have something to strive for. You’ll feel more accomplished at the end of the challenge for having met the goal, but you won’t flounder at the end of January and grow woozy at the thought of absorbing another syllable.

2. Use mostly books you really WANT to read, as well as a few you want to HAVE READ. There are books I’m so excited about reading, I could squeal. Yes, indeed. But then there are those I know I NEED to read, but I’m not necessarily excited about. Space those out between the “fun” ones.

3. Lose the guilt of speed-reading. I’m a perfectionist. I get that lost-my-phone feeling if I don’t read every word. However, when consuming large amounts of literature in a limited time frame, especially nonfiction, I have to ignore that twinge and know that getting the main point is what matters. This is no excuse to be lazy, though. Skimming the table of contents does not constitute a book read. =)

4. Use a library sorting tool. Goodreads is my current favorite. I recently joined Novel Crossing for Christian fiction books and am excited to explore it a little more. These websites help you keep track of your titles, TBR lists, and have-read lists. You can rate books, leave reviews, and recommend to your friends. Even create a little book-o-meter that tells you how many books you’ve read this year and gives you a percentage of your progress. Add me on Goodreads.com: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/6500254-natalie

5. Don't be afraid to change your goal number mid-challenge. This last tip is taboo for some. Sounds like cheating. Maybe so. But this is your challenge, so make it work for you. If life turns belly-up and you get behind, like I-get-cross-eyed-and-a-little-nauseous-when-I-think-about-my-lack-of-progress behind, lower the goal number to something feasible and try for a few more. It’s way better than giving up, and you still have some sense of achievement at the end of the challenge. Works the other way, too. If you meet your goal early, raise the par!

Need book ideas? 
Here are just a few of the titles I enjoyed in 2013:

And here are a few I grabbed from my 2014 TBR list:

 672493 18301156 6973752 13499195 13511369 17253180 13554235 3623698 10432892

I’ll post a progress update or two throughout the year. Check into this blog anytime for encouragement or to report your progress. 

So, challenge accepted?

I’m always looking for new titles. What are some books you're excited to read in 2014?