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DIY Guide! Create Your Own Reading Affirmations

Vivienne Woodward


Vivienne Woodward lives in Philly and works as the events coordinator for an indie bookstore. She can often be found drinking too much coffee in the sunny spot on her couch and over-identifying with fictional characters. She enjoys collecting hobbies, dancing to radio pop, and rearranging the book stacks on her side tables.

Affirmations are a great way to turn something you do into a lifestyle. I say this not to diminish the power of positive thinking or those who find affirmations helpful. I say this because repeating something over and over or writing something again and again gives it a certain gravitas: “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die,” etc., etc. Once upon a time Inigo Montoya was just a guy with an idea. After repeating that phrase several thousand times, he is a guy with a singular purpose and saying it again and again helps speak his goal into existence (others learn his story, point him towards six-fingered man). 

I have a goal, too. It is to be left alone to read. Reading is something I do, but if I commit to using reading affirmations I can convince both myself and maybe even others around me that reading is not just a hobby, but a necessary pursuit — a pursuit that must be respected and tended to with the dedication of a son out to avenge his father. Now, Inigo’s repeated sentence is not really an affirmation. An affirmation is a statement of positivity that we direct at ourselves — I can, I will, I am, etc. Inigo might have said “I am Inigo Montoya. I am strong. I am fast. I am proud of the lifestyle I have chosen, AKA devoting all of my time to training and then hunting down and killing my father’s murderer.” Today we are going to learn how to turn statements we make about reading into affirmations that will further fuel our obsession with reading and help take it from casual activity to lifestyle. 

I would say I am like 45% committed to my goal of being left alone to read, which is an okay percentage, but I do feel there is room for improvement. For example, sometimes when I’m reading my husband will interrupt me to ask me a question like “Did you run the dishwasher?” or “Do you want me to slice an apple for you?” and 99% of the time, I answer him. If I am allowing myself to be interrupted (I’m sure you’ve had this experience too, reader!!), am I fully committed to my goal of being left alone to read? No. I am neither being left alone nor reading when I say “Yes, I would like some apple slices, thank you for the kind offer.” 

This is what I am thinking in a situation such as the one described above: “I wish everyone would leave me alone so I could read.” I bet you have had this same thought, reader. We are now going to learn to turn this common, everyday thought into an affirmation. So. Perhaps your boss is emailing you. Perhaps your florist is calling you. Whatever. Here’s how to take what is a grumpy, negative thought and turn it into an affirmation: “I am [positive adjective] to be reading right now. I am grateful to those around me for letting me read.” Voila! Depending on how you say it, it will either come off as beatific or threatening. Either is effective! The point is you have said it with aggressive confidence and a positive attitude. Got it? Let’s do another!

“I am never going to finish my library books by their due dates.” Anytime you feel defeatist about your reading, whether you’re facing deadlines such as impossible library due dates or maybe you’re just a little tired and not in the mood to read (unacceptable!), imagine and therefore manifest that reading is as critical as your cheerleading team winning Nationals in Daytona. All together now, “I can, I will, I must…finish that library book before its due date.”

Here’s another common, non-affirmative thought: “I wish I could blow off my plans to stay in and read.” Don’t “wish” when you could “do” and don’t use negative words such as “blow off” and “plans.” You should instead focus on the places reading can take you that going outside cannot. Try: “Through reading, I can expand my mind (in a way that I cannot by listening to Gary tell the same story for the thousandth time).” Relatedly, you might eventually also try: “I am grateful my friends have stopped inviting me to go out, because it means I can read all night without feeling [negative feeling].” Remember: affirmations are all about framing. 

Let’s take a look at where we started: we were grumpy about being interrupted while reading. Let’s take a look at where we are now, through the use of affirmations: friendless, with absolutely zero distractions. We have both internalized the message that reading is of the utmost and we have also externalized that to our friends and family. Affirmations will help you speak your truth into existence: you are now alone to read. 

For more reading affirmation guidance, check out these 36 bookish affirmations.