The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Cool Girls have taken over the literary scene, romanticizing yet another pastime for the aspiring Cool Girls. With this newfound love for reading more frequently (credited mostly to Booktok viral trends) comes reading (duh) and finding your niche. Keeping up with new viral books, new releases, and reading the books you discover on your own has gotten more difficult over time. Life and school get in the way, which ultimately leaves you with no motivation. Why read when a movie or a TV show scratches the same parts of your brain? These are things that have (and still) kept me from actively and consistently enjoying reading. As someone who faces these procrastinating senses and is a certified aspiring Cool Girl Reader, I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve on how to keep consistency and intrigue in reading.
Step One: Get Organized
This is genuinely the best part of this whole process. Apps such as Goodreads and Storygraph allow you to explore new titles, keep up with what your friends are reading and organize your TBR more visually. Having an idea of the books you want to read on a never-ending list keeps you excited for the next one, and the sense of community that these apps provide will surely be enough to keep you motivated throughout your reading journey.
Step Two: Setting your Goal for the Year
This step will make or break your approach towards “success” in reading more. Self-awareness is a crucial part of setting an attainable number for the year while also allowing yourself to be challenged. For example, at the beginning of my “reading journey,” my goal for the year was to read 10 books, which at the time seemed like a lot, considering I was averaging half a book a month, but setting that goal put it into perspective. My goal of 10 books meant I just had to read less than one book a month, something that I was already doing, but having a tangible number to work towards during the entire year motivated me so much that I ended up reading 8 books more than my goal! If you are still not convinced, next year I set my goal to 20 books and read 30 for the whole year. Setting/carrying out a slow and steady goal that you know will challenge and motivate you is the key to achieving consistency in reading.
Step Three: Finding Your Niche
This step is probably the one that will take the most time. Trial and error is the only way to get through this, and even when seasons change, tastes change and the literary community is always evolving. Falling in love with what you are reading instead of just reading what everyone else is reading is a process, but one that will inevitably lead to reading more. Finding your genre and exploring the plethora of tropes the literary world has to offer will help you stay engaged for longer periods. Exploring genres can be difficult but it’s always a safe bet reading the most popular titles since those tend to appeal to a larger audience and then exploring the depths of that genre once you have piqued interest. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll always be drawn to the same thing and you should stick to one genre rather, this phase never really ends, but finding something you like (or don’t) will make it way easier when on the hunt for your next favorite book. Looking at the content you already consume and enjoy will make this step a hundred times easier. What kind of TV shows are you drawn to? What kind of tropes do your favorite movies play into? These are important questions to ask yourself when you are just starting.
Step Four: DNFing & Acceptance
DNFing (“Did Not Finish”) books you are not enjoying is still a rite of passage I have yet to accept for myself. Often the mentality of seeing everything through and spending long periods reading a book that is dragging on and on will only take away time from finding and reading books that you will love and want to spend time with. The stigma of DNFing comes from wanting to keep striving to reach your reading goal. But if you are spending more time reading something you have already decided you are not a fan of, aren’t you taking away time you could’ve used to read something new and better suited to your tastes?
Step Five: Audiobooks & Hot Girl Library Cards
Now we are getting into the nitty-gritty of reading, my lazy gal reading hacks. Over the years, I have tried to come up with various ways to read faster and more efficiently without spending lots of time stuck in a book or feeling stuck. The one thing that has changed the way I read is audiobooks. Audiobooks have been a godsend when it comes to reading more: while cooking, showering, commuting, while you’re up late at night unable to silence your thoughts. I know that it is very easy to lose focus while just listening to an audiobook, which is why I reserve a special time of day (I do it before bed but you can do it literally whenever) EXCLUSIVELY to read. I sit down, turn off my brain, turn on my book and follow along with a physical copy. Another one of my favorite lazy gal reading hacks is using library cards. These days libraries are not limited to physical copies but apps such as Libby can allow you to use a library card for E-Books, audiobooks, and physical copies. Having a never-ending TBR list will keep you from “not having anything to read”.
All in all, reading should be a personal experience for YOUーif don’t force it, trust that it will come as second nature eventually. Some things that will work for me might not work for everybody else and vice-versa. If any of these steps don’t work for you, I hope you can at least use them as a guide to what NOT to do. Only one thing is for certain, and if you’re going to take any advice from me let it be this; if you want to read more and if it is something you are passionate about, you’ll find a way to prioritize it. Happy reading!