I read somewhere (can’t remember where) that to become an exceptional writer, you have to read like an exceptional writer. It is entirely possible that I’ve read this several times in different places, but it strikes a chord each time.
I used to be a voracious reader; especially as a kid. But then television beckoned, and I took the lazy route out. Also, and this is the bigger reason, I psyched myself out of reading.
Yup. I’ll let that horrific thought sink in.
I succumbed to the elitism of reading, and when I found that I found classics and their language difficult to consume, my reading habit slowly ground to a halt. It isn’t that I don’t enjoy classics, but honestly trying to keep up with accents within taxed my brain harshly. In fact, it made my reading progress exceedingly arduous.
There was also this sense of shame about enjoying younger literature more, like Harry Potter for instance. Before anyone jumps down my throat, I don’t think that Harry Potter is juvenile; far from it. I just think it is intended for a younger audience.
This year, I decided to get out of my own way. To that end, I set up a goal on Goodreads to finish 52 books this year. Sometime in my past, that would have been a puny goal, but now I’m already behind. It doesn’t matter. My sense of self doesn’t hinge on accomplishing goals anymore.
To my intense surprise, lifting the weight of my own expectations has made me actually read more. I still keep a list of media I have consumed (movies and books), but that’s because I can be quite neurotic. I have read a few classics, and allowed myself the liberty of letting a month elapse between chapters, so my brain can rest.
I am so pleased to reclaim a part of my reading habit once again.