You Should Definitely Read Every Day

Getting In The Habit Of Reading Daily May Be Easier Than It Sounds

A startling number of American's don't read, even though it has a lot of benefits.

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As a writer, something I struggle with, ironically, is reading. How can that be, you might wonder? And I wonder the same. How am I ever going to be successful as a writer if I don't do something as simple as reading?

Reading exposes us to other styles, voices, forms, and genres of writing. Reading helps writers improve. Roz Morris once said, "Reading—the good and the bad—inspires you. It develops your palate for all the tricks that writers have invented over the years. You can learn from textbooks about the writing craft, but there's no substitute for discovering for yourself how a writer pulls off a trick. Then that becomes part of your experience."

Nicholas Sparks writers that all writers should read, and they should read a variety of material:

"Second, you must read, and read a lot. Did I say A LOT? I read over a hundred books a year and have done so since I was fifteen years old, and every book I've read has taught me something. I've learned that some authors are incredible at building suspense (see The Firm by John Grisham), I've read others that scare the jeepers out of me (see The Shining by Stephen King). Some authors can weave an incredible number of story lines into a single, coherent novel, with all parts coming together at the end that makes it impossible to stop turning the pages (see The Sum of all Fears by Tom Clancy), while other authors make me laugh out loud (seeBloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore). I've also learned that many, many authors fail when attempting to do these things. By reading a lot of novels in a variety of genres, and asking questions, it's possible to learn how things are done—the mechanics of writing, so to speak—and which genres and authors excel in various areas."

I could try to blame how little I read now on elementary and middle school - reading books I wasn't all that interested in and having to write book reports on them, and answering tough questions, which I, at the time, didn't find useful, practically zapped my love of reading. I always found it hard to read two books at once, so if I was assigned a book at school I would set aside what I was reading for that purpose.

Over the years, my book collection has grown. I'm inching away at running out of space on my shelf. I think I own a fair amount of books of my own, and now that I'm an English major the number increases every semester, as does the number of books I read. Again, I'm reading these books because I have to. I enjoy them, yes, and lately, I've been enjoying the work for them.

But how, exactly, do I make reading a daily habit?

This article by Kevin Lee has tons of fascinating, yet shocking, statistics about how much and how little people read. A study by the Pew Research Center "found that adults read an average of 17 books a year." The same study says that 19% of American's don't read any books. A study from the Huffington Post showed that 28% of American's haven't read a book in the past year.

What?

Shane Parrish, from the Farnam Street blog, read 14 books in March. He tackles several books like this every month because he makes reading a priority. He cuts time out from other activities. The average American watches 5 hours of TV daily; easily, this can be reduced. Try reading first, for about three hours, and then watch TV. Read before you sleep instead of watching TV or browsing social media; it'll actually help you sleep better.

A lot of people recommend keeping a book on you for those moments you have empty time (commuting to work, or during lunch, or when you're re-watching old TV shows) if you have a book on you (or near you), read instead of scrolling through social media.

Often times I think about reading, and then realize "Oh, I don't have enough time to read." And then end up watching something instead. But if I can watch a 45-minute episode of Law and Order: SVU before bed, why can't I spend that time reading instead?

Psychologists also recommend using different spaces for each part of your day - don't do homework in bed, or anything stressful, otherwise you'll begin associating your bed with stressful activities, so do your homework at a desk instead. With that in mind, if you have a dedicated spot for reading, soon reading will be associated with that spot, and every time you sit there, you'll want to read. Similarly, every time you sit at your desk you'll be encouraged to work.

Reading is important, and there are several benefits, such as mental stimulation, stress relief, improved sleep, better memory, improves concentration, and vocabulary expansion.

Reading daily might sound a little bit daunting, but I've realized by writing this article, it's actually really easy.

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To The Girl Who Isn't Graduating On Time, It Won't Feel Any Less Amazing When You Do

Graduating is something to be proud of no matter how long it takes you.

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To the girl who isn't graduating college "on time,"

I promise, you will get there eventually, and you will walk across that graduation stage with the biggest smile on your face.

You may have a different journey than the people you grew up with, and that is OKAY. You may have some twists and turns along the way, a few too many major changes, a life change, you may have taken most of a semester off to try to figure your life out, and you're doing the best you can.

Your family and your friends don't think less of you or your accomplishments, they are proud of your determination to get your degree.

They are proud of the woman you are becoming. They don't think of you as a failure or as someone any less awesome than you are. You're getting your degree, you're making moves towards your dreams and the life that you have always wanted, so please stop beating yourself up while you see people graduating college on time and getting a job or buying a car.

Your time will come, you just keep doing what you need to do in order to get on that graduation stage.

Your path is set out for you, and you will get there with time but also with patience. The place you're at right now is where you are supposed to be. You are going to thrive and you are going to be the best version of you when you graduate and start looking for a company that you will be proud to work for. Don't look on social media and feel less than, because at least you're still working towards your degree that you are finally passionate about. You will be prepared. You will be ready once the time comes and you cross the stage, move away, and start your journey in whatever field you're going into.

Don't question yourself, and be confident in your abilities.

With love,

A girl who isn't graduating on time

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Goodbye School, Hello Real World

I'm ready for ya!

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It's starting to hit me.

I've been in school, year after year, since kindergarten. Maybe even pre-school!

Now, I'm about to graduate with my bachelors in communication and I couldn't be more proud of myself. I'll say it. I often sugarcoat it or suppress it but d*mn it. I'm going to applaud myself. It was hard work. It took a lot of motivation, determination, (caffeine), and willpower to get to where I am today. I worked my ass off.

That being said, I can't help but think... What is life without due dates? What is life like without scrambling to turn in an assignment that's due at 11:59 PM? What is life like with actual sleep? Sleep? I don't know her.

Like I keep telling my boyfriend and my parents, I don't have it all figured out. At least not right now. But I will, and I'm in no rush to land my dream job right now. If anything, I want to take a year to myself. I want to travel. I want to sleep in if I d*mn well please! I want to read as many books as I want. I want to write till my fingers fall off (OK, maybe not that).

You get the jist.

I'm free. I can do and be whatever I want. And you know what? That's terrifying.

I'm lost. I've followed this structure for so long. Now what?

I don't have all the answers yet. But for now, at least right at this very moment, I'm so thankful to have been able to receive such an amazing education. And to be able to say I'm graduating with my bachelors in communication at 21 is an accomplishment in itself.

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