How I Balance Reading For School With Reading For Fun

One of the questions I get asked most on Instagram, is how I manage to read so much for fun, when I’m already juggling an extensive reading list for Uni.

The short answer is I love reading, so I prioritise it. You can’t really be doing a Creative Writing MA without a love of reading, or without reading extensively around the subject you’re studying. A lot of my academic essays require an understanding of the current publishing market and trends in book sales. So really, any reading I do is useful for school, but there are a few ways I separate my school reading from my ‘just for fun’ stuff.

The first big thing I do is always try to read academic texts at my desk. It’s not always possible, and sometimes if the choice is read for school in bed or don’t read at all, I’ll obviously pick the former. I never read for fun at my desk though, so the separation really helps me feel like they’re different tasks.

I also usually take notes whilst reading for school, so the act of tabbing pages, scribbling notes in my notebook & and adding annotations all helps to differentiate it from my other reading.

I generally find that reading widely stops me from ever getting bored, I just switch subject matter when I feel myself tiring of one genre. I am lucky in that I’ve been able to really tailor my degree to my specific areas of interest, so I have yet to come across a really dull academic text in my subject area. It also helps to consume books across different formats, I swap between physical books and my kindle, and occasionally I’ll listen to an audiobook.

I’ve talked before about the Forest App but it really is great for getting tasks done. I use it on days when I really don’t want to read, or am struggling to concentrate, to set short sharp bursts that I have to focus. I find it much easier to read when I say ‘Okay, I’m going to read as much as I can of this for the next fifteen minutes, then I’ll have a break’ than just knowing I need to sit down and read. This goes for a lot of tasks, but is especially handy for the days when you’re trying to read but you keep accidentally picking up your phone.

Do you have a reading goal for the year?