A Reading Commitment, and Keeping Tracking of What I’ve Read

In my last post (MORE), I wrote about how I wanted to do more reading this year.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot in the past few days. Because, just when I thought I’d be less busy, I picked up a few more deadlines and suddenly, once again, there’s a lot less time in my day to do the things I want.

And from experience, the first of my priorities to go down the drain when I get busy with deadlines is my reading.

A Reading Commitment

Last year, I got my writing vibe back by making one simple change: I committed to making my writing a priority. I wrote before I did anything else. After the first couple of weeks, it just became something that I did. I didn’t have to explain or justify or rationalize (to myself, I mean – I discovered I had a whole stash of negative self-talk about taking the time to write when I had deadlines). That’s the great thing about making something a priority.

And it worked! After years of never finishing anything, I started and finished the first draft of one of my novels in two months.

So, given my success with my writing when I made it a priority, I’ve decided I’m going to do the same with my reading.

After all, my intention in starting this blog in the first place was to help myself to read more. As Stephen King says, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” I’m back on track with the writing-a-lot – now all I have to is get my reading vibe back.

Keeping Track

Now all I have to do is try and figure out a really, really good way to keep track of everything I read this year. I’ve tried all sorts of methods – last year, it was a combination of Pinterest and Goodreads, and for a very brief space of time, an actual, physical reading notebook in which I jotted down my thoughts about what I was reading – but still, no success.

After reading this post by science fiction writer Jamie Todd Rubin that describes in part how he has a Reading notebook set up on his Evernote account, I’m toying with the idea of using Evernote to track my reading. I think it might work for me because:

  1. I usually have my phone with me, and while I do have the Evernote app on my phone, it’s even quicker to jot down the title of the book in an email and email it to my Evernote account.
  2. If I don’t have my phone with me, chances are good I’ll have something else nearby with which I can send an email to Evernote.
  3. I DON’T HAVE TO DATE ANYTHING! (Yes, I do like this point in particular. I really hate putting the date on things. I don’t know why.) Each note in Evernote automatically carries the date it was added.

I’m already keeping my to-read list on Evernote and my “things to request from the library when I have more time to read” list there as well. So why not make Evernote my ultimate reading productivity app?

It makes sense to me. I’ll let you all know how it goes.

What about you? Do you have any tips on how to make time for reading?

7 thoughts on “A Reading Commitment, and Keeping Tracking of What I’ve Read

  1. rhapsodyinbooks

    I have better luck keeping track of reading than making time for it! To keep track, I just keep a notebook. I divide my list by months, and then just write in title, author, genre, and how I got the book (e.g., library, publisher, bookstore). Not very sophisticated but somehow, with that notebook sitting by my computer staring at me, it makes me more conscientious than if I had to pull up an excel file or something!

  2. Bernadette

    I use Evernote for my reading notes too – but then I use Evernote for just about everything. I occasionally worry that one day they’ll hsay I need to pay them 1 trillion dollars and I’ll have to find it because they have my whole life in there :)

    An additional aid I occasionally use is an app called eHighligher – it’s on my iPhone and it syncs with Evernote and what it does is allow you to take a quick scan of a paragraph or page of a book and highlight a particular sentence or two if you want – it’s not something I use all the time but often enough to make it helpful – it’s a good memory jogger for me for reminding me of passages I liked and so on. I can’t remember now but I think the app is a paid one but only cheap ($2 or less)

  3. heidenkind

    I need to start making reading a priority, too. So far I only do if I’m reading a good book, and then I get bogged down in okay books or books I’m not really enjoying but don’t want to DNF. I could always read while eating my breakfast.

  4. Joanna

    I keep track via Goodreads and a list on my blog, but lately I’ve added a notebook to that too and like it better. I have evernote but don’t think am using it properly, there seems to be so much more I could do with it.

  5. Barbara

    I keep a notebook but I review everything I read so I don’t make notes about the book in my notebook. I like knowing how many books I read in a year and scanning the list tells me the genres I’ve been highlighting in my choices.

    As for making time for reading, that isn’t a problem for me now that I’m more practiced in ignoring Dave’s loud television while I’m reading. I thought I was going to have to resort to ear protectors for a while. What I need to make time for is housework and all the other jobs that don’t wait just because I’m in the middle of a great book.

  6. Joy Weese Moll (@joyweesemoll)

    I’m using Goodreads as my record of what I read. Somehow, setting a goal on Goodreads for books I’ll read in a year made this start to work for me. I have to get it into Goodreads with a date this year, or it won’t count!

    I use Evernote for lists of books I’d like to read on various topics. I have a TBR in Goodreads, too, but it’s grown unwieldy so I don’t go look at it as often as I should. I hope Evernote works well for you!

    For reading time, I read while I eat (even though every diet book says don’t do that) and I read in the bathtub nearly every night before bed. Otherwise, I don’t read even when I’d like to be reading more so I look forward to seeing what works for you!


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