Successfully completing a reading challenge requires creativity. A busy mom completing a reading challenge requires effort and creativity. After easily exceeding my Goodreads Reading Challenge in 2021, I set a more aggressive goal for 2022.
I quickly realized my reading at bedtime and listening to Audible in the car were not enough.
To achieve my 2022 goal, I needed a reading strategy.
I can hear you laughing. What a nerd, right? What adult, not in school, sets reading goals and strategies for how to meet them? This one, along with thousands of others, participates in the Goodreads Annual Reading Challenge.
In 2021, my goal was 25 books, and too easy. For 2022, I set a loftier goal of 50 books and read 55. That goal was achieved by me creating time for books.
I imagine you reading this and telling me that you do not have time to read.
Hear me out, you can make time.
Maybe not for 60 books, but for one, or five, or twelve. Make a commitment and a plan.
First, make a commitment.
Decide how many books you plan to read. Be realistic. If you currently are “on a break” from reading, start with one book. However, if you already read periodically, set a more aggressive goal. Perhaps twelve books, one a month. Ask a friend to join you and keep you accountable. Find me on Goodreads, and we can encourage each other to achieve our reading goals.
Next, make a reading list.
I curate my “to read” stack of books all the time, and add books to my Goodreads “want to read” list, even if I do not have them in my possession. Also, I choose my books from friends’ recommendations, and a few social media and celebrity book clubs like Read with Jenna and Everyday Reading.
Sometimes I pick a book just because I like the cover.
I rarely stick to my list, and add or subtract books as the year progresses. My list includes many genres, from historical fiction to biography to children’s literature.
Start with what you love and then branch out.
Get some books
Visit a local bookstore. Ask for gift cards or books for your birthday. Do not rule yourself out because your budget does not allow for extras, like books. The West Florida Public Library system maintains seven locations from Pensacola to Century.
Library cards are free. You can walk in and choose a random book. If you desire specific books, you can put those on hold.
Or you can hit up thrift stores, friends’ shelves, or the free little libraries located in many neighborhoods around town.
Start reading, even if you only read a page a day to start. Work up to a chapter a day.
Pick a time, early in the am or just before bed, or waiting for your children to get in the car at school. Put down your phone, stop scrolling for a minute, and just read.
If reading doesn’t work for you, listen. Subscribe to Audible if you can or utilize the Libby app through your public library. Listening to books expands your opportunities to read!
I read while doing laundry, cooking dinner, or returning from school drop-off. You might be surprised at how much reading you can accomplish with an audiobook.
Now, I am not suggesting you ignore your children in order to accomplish your reading goals. I am, however, encouraging you to commit.
Set your phone aside when you sit down to read. Reading just one email can lead to reading fifty emails and buying this one thing from Old Navy because it is on sale! Or scrolling Instagram for five minutes becomes fifty minutes, and your reading time for the day dissipates.
Encourage your children to read when you do. Set a timer for fifteen minutes, and everyone reads for fifteen minutes. Sometimes they continue reading after the timer elapses.
That’s a win for everyone.
Join a Book Club
Pensacola Mom Collective has a beautiful, low-pressure book club. We read five to six books a year and meet at different times for each book. Sometimes, we meet virtually. You do not have to commit to the meetings to join us. You can follow along on our Pensacola Mom Collective Book Club on Facebook.
In addition, there are book clubs via the library system in neighborhoods, churches, or friend groups. Ask around. They provide excellent opportunities to share book recommendations, discuss books, swap books, and just hang out.
If you have time and the desire, find a book club that works for you. I do not think you will be disappointed.
My 2023 List
My to-be-read list includes: “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid, “The Weight of Ink” by Rachel Radish, “Treacle Walker” by Alan Garner, “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” by Kate DiCamillo, “Mr. Malcolm’s List” by Suzanne Allan, “Mad Honey” by Jodi Picot and “Wrong Place Wrong Time” by Gillian McAllister to name a few.
Let me know what you are reading, and I might add it to my list. My goal is 60 books in 2023.