Have you ever found yourself coming to the first week in September and wondering "Where the heck did my summer go?! I didn't get to do half of what I wanted!" You're definitely not alone. And if you are going into this summer vowing that it will be different this time, with grand plans of how much you want to do (and how many books you'd like to have read by summer's end), I've got some hints that just might help you out.
1) Stop over-planning. This is the big one. If you're finding that you have some errand or appointment scheduled every single day during the week, you're forgetting one important one: YOU. Everyone deserves downtime, even if that's just a half-hour in the evenings, better still if you can get a whole lazy summer afternoon. This is the perfect time to find a quiet, comfy place to cool off, unwind, and read.
2) Skip the television. Summer TV is awful, full of repeats. If you're not a baseball fan, there's not much else going on. (I give you a pass on the Olympics, though.) And if you only turn on the set out of habit or for background noise, be aware of that and turn it off. Make better use of that time. Better yet, if you have kids, it sets a great example for them to get their summer reading done, too.
3) Bring your book along. It's difficult to read if your book is home on the kitchen table, and you're at the beach or pool, right?
4) Have a wish-list. If you don't have a list of books you'd like to read, start making one. This isn't homework, but as friends mention books they loved, or you see that your favorite author has a new book coming out (I post lists of up-and-coming bestsellers a month before their release date to make it easier for you!), add it to the list. When you're ready for your next book or bored with what you're reading currently (hey, it happens), that list will come in very handy! Which leads to...
5) If you're bored with what you're reading, find something else to read. I promise, neither the book police nor your high school English teacher will come to yell at you and force you to finish what you're reading. Life's too short to force yourself to read something you're not enjoying. Please note, the same goes for your kids--there will be something out there that they want to read. Even if you don't necessarily think graphic novels, video game magazines, or horror novels are what they "should" be reading, if they're happy reading them, let the kids read!!
6) Actually, don't worry about what people think about what you're reading, either. If you're enjoying Fifty Shades of Grey, go for it. Read what you want to read, not what you think will impress someone else. That said...
7) Challenge yourself a little from time to time. If your reading wish-list has things like The Great Gatsby or To Kill a Mockingbird on it, your summer vacation might just be the time to dive right in.
8) Traveling? Try an audiobook to kill time on the plane or in the car. Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events or J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels are great choices to get the whole family listening.
9) Set realistic (but specific) goals. If you're hoping to read a lot this summer, that's great! But don't set yourself up for something crazy like 50 books read by September 1. That might be difficult even if you're a speed-reader. Instead, try for something like a book every week or two over the course of the summer, which if you use some of the other tips on this list should be pretty easy to achieve.
10) Finally, enjoy yourself. Summer reading should be about relaxation, entertainment, and enjoyment.
See you Thursday for my June Reading Challenge wrap-up. In the meantime, happy reading!