The Golden Ticket – How much money can you make from publishing a book

Hitting your reading goal this year: How and why to read more

“I need to start reading more”

No matter how many times I tell myself this, I end up not fulfiling my promise and wondering why I didn’t. I’m not alone. Reading is the world’s most popular New Year’s Resolution, one of the most sought after to-do’s and habits for most ages. But, life gets busy and hours spent reading end up being hours spent elsewhere.

“When I think of all the books left for me to read, I am certain of further happiness.” — Jules Renard.

Looking back, I have increased the number of books I have read from 20 a year to 50. Most of these were nonfiction, as I work in the nonfiction sector, and a couple were audiobooks (thank you, Audible).

So, based on my experience, and that of many book lovers who inspired my approach, I would like to present you with a guide on how to actually read more books.

Also, my template can help with other aims like cooking at home, walking, organisation, and stopping the dreaded doomscroll (at least sometimes).

How do I find the motivation to read? 

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies,” said Jojen. “The man who never reads lives only one.” 

George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons

I read because I find stories exciting and more profound than my own experiences. This is called intrinsic motivation. Once I realised what I wanted was internal, I found my motivation. Just like students must have intrinsic reasons to study, they remain motivated and able to comprehend what they read.

Reading is pretty personal. Your motivation for even wanting to read more will likely be personal. But sometimes you need a little extra help — to figure out yourself and what you want:

How do I use reading to enhance my knowledge? 

“Human knowledge is never contained in one person. It grows from the relationships we create between each other and the world, and still, it is never complete.” 

Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air

When you read, you become more intelligent — in that you become more knowledgeable of society, politics, the human condition, yourself, etc. Thus, you build a body of knowledge that you can draw on. Reading makes you more proficient, curious, analytical, inquisitive, and adept.

How does reading make me feel better? 

“Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world, a door opens to allow in more light.”

Vera Nazarian

Reading is the easiest exercise you can master. It strengthens language processing, heals mental strain, builds cognitive function, and slows memory decline.

The scholarly studies conducted on the brain alongside reading is so profound. But it was Annie Murphy Paul’s article Your Brain on Fiction which described how important creative reading is to us:

Fiction, Dr Oatley notes, “is a particularly useful simulation because negotiating the social world effectively is extremely tricky, requiring us to weigh up myriad interacting instances of cause and effect. Just as computer simulations can help us get to grips with complex problems such as flying a plane or forecasting the weather, so novels, stories and dramas can help us understand the complexities of social life.

Why does reading give me comfort? 

Reading has helped me cope these last few years. The global pandemic caused psychological warfare with ourselves — isolated, alone, and overwhelmed. Books were like a shield, shadowing me in another person’s life — a life of adventure and friendship.

“Reading takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere.”

Hazel Rochman

Reading connects you with others. I’ve made so many friends on Goodreads and Twitter sharing book reviews and recommendations. People get to know you; what entertains or bores you. Also, book groups are some of the sweetest, most comforting groups around.

Does reading make you more creative? 

I’m quite creative — I write a lot, but that’s because I read a lot. Reading, especially nonfiction, makes you more empathetic as you step into another’s mind and soul. Empathy and creativity are linked. You see, stories inspire us to see the world and ourselves in new ways, which can really help us step out of the shadows of self-doubt or uncertainty.

Tip: listen to a book with a little ambience. Here’s my current favourite:

Does reading help you sleep? 

“True silence is the rest of the mind, and is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.”

William Penn

Reading is one of the most effective ways to nod off. It relaxes your body and mind. Stick the phone away, and turn to a paperback. According to Jan Van den Bulck, screens and films cause sleep dysfunction, disturbing our natural circadian rhythm and, subsequently, all other aspects of our lives.

How can I read a lot? 

Don’t start reading to read a dozen by the end of the month. This will automatically switch off that part of your brain that concentrates on the task.

Also, if you’re a newbie, don’t read multiple books simultaneously. You can switch genres with each book, don’t be discouraged. This week a fantasy fiction; next week, a war memoir.

I do this, and it helps a lot. I don’t overlap stories. However, some may be able to. You’ve got to figure this out for yourself.

How do I schedule reading? 

Reading is a habit you’ve got to start first getting used to your phone or the television; sitting quietly with a book will. Allocate time to read.

Start with 5 minutes a day, then 10 minutes, and then an hour. If you schedule it in you’re more likely to stick to it.

Most people read before they go to bed. This is a good place to start — read for five minutes there.

Do small books count? 

Less is more — when it comes to hitting a reading goal.

Only some people can read 800-page books in a week! Some of the greatest pieces of literature are less than 200 pages: Of Mice and Men, We Have Always Lived in a Castle, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and A Room of One’s Own (name a few to get you started!)

How do I access books? 

This is known as the friction principle. You spend less time reading by spending time on other habits like doom scrolling, shopping, playing video games, etc. These cause friction. To overcome this, you must make it easy to access books as you can on your phone, apps, and games.

Now, when I’m hard up for cash but I want to read and support writers, I check out: 

  • Amazon Kindle (it’s free on your phone, and there are free books!)
  • Audible (free credits every month!)
  • A physical library (free library card!) 
  • Charity shops (these are always cheap with special deals like 3 for £2)

Additionally, the Medium books page is a great place to get reading inspiration and find new books.

Reading has always been a source of comfort for me. There are piles of books in my room, waiting to be shelved. Therefore, until I have my own library, they won’t see justice.

I think we’re entering a technology age where a lot of people are sick of technology. It’s everywhere — screens, lights, blaring colours. Now, I don’t know if you’ve seen Everything, Everywhere All At Once, but that was an allegory for the internet (amongst other things). I think a book’s softness is what many people want to escape into.

However, you cannot read more if you don’t truly want to. People always know what they’re going to do. If you want to do something, you already know you’ll do it.

I know I want to read more every year. This year, I read over 55 books, and I’ve got a list for next year because I know I want to read.

This is how I do it.

Well, you might say — isn’t it a bit of a luxury to be able to set aside time for reading? I’m sorry to say it’s not.

The classic literary genius, George Orwell, wrote an essay titled Books vs Cigarettes (1946) where he disputed this idea. He argued that a society which indulges in alcohol, cigarettes, and food could easily justify those pleasures while turning its nose up at the idea of reading.

It is, arguably, one of the cheapest forms of entertainment and recreation. It heals your mind, soul, and body.

Dear reader, if you enjoyed this article and want to support us, find us on socials, our website and Goodreads to get notified whenever I publish something new.

Add us as a friend on Goodreads!

By Shelby Jones