For many people, reading is a hobby that is easy to pick up as a child but hard to return to as an adult. With less free time, a shorter attention span, and bigger mental loads from work, it can feel like a miracle whenever an adult is able to pick up reading again. However, that small amount of pride may get in the way of actually reading. Here are some quick tips on how to read a book without constantly thinking, “Omg I’m doing it! I’m finally reading a book!!”
Read Aloud to Yourself.
If you’re having trouble reading because every time you do it, you’re like “holy shit I can’t believe I’m doing this. I finally picked up reading again,” reading aloud may be an easy way to focus on the words you’re reading instead of just the idea that you’re actually reading. The sound of your own voice will drown out any thoughts you have about how fucking amazing it is that you rediscovered an old childhood passion and something super respected by People in the World, even though it’s the same world that makes it so hard to slow down and read any more. Anyway, holy shit – you’re doing it!!
Try taking notes to stay engaged with your text and so you don’t get distracted thinking about how it’s kind of amazing how you haven’t looked at Twitter in 10 minutes and are actually reading this book instead. Annotate parts of the text that resonate with you, or take note of any words you don’t know to expand your vocabulary. This will distract you from the fact that how impressive it is that you are pursuing knowledge for the sake of knowledge. You’re just a total brainiac for being able to just pick up a book and read it instead of being like “I’m reading I’m reading I’m reading” instead of actually reading.
Tell People You’re Reading a Book.
A last resort if you can’t seem to stop thinking about how you’re reading a book while you’re reading a book is to tell people you’re reading a book. This might help you stay on track even though it’s fucking crazy that you’re doing this. Try making a Goodreads account to subtly let people know you’re reading a book, make a long Facebook post or Twitter thread about rediscovering reading, or start a bookstagram. Performatively reading may be just what you need to be able to leave the distracting thoughts of how cool it is that you’re actually reading behind!
Try these tips the next time you’re reading to help you stay focused on the book in front of you. Also, we think it’s super cool that you’re reading again, how do you actually do that? Our attention spans are so short that we can barely get through an article, and here you are, with an actual book. You’re actually just like sitting down and reading, it’s crazy!