This is a guest post from Ashley Wertz. Ashley is a writer, artist, and well of useless knowledge. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2017 with a BA in English, a minor in Studio Arts, and a certificate in Children’s Literature. She has written for sites such as Study Breaks Magazine and ComicsVerse. In her free time, she reads graphic novels and paints portraits of Stevie Nicks.
Twitter Handle: ashleywertzzz
In four years of college, I seldom read for myself. I felt guilty about cracking open something for fun when I had novels and essays piling up. And even when I did find that morsel of a moment for myself, I would much rather spend it watching a show or attending to my other neglected hobbies.
If you’re anything like me, the post-college reading fatigue is real. Reading has become more a task than a joy, blocks of teeny text like a wall that I can’t seem to climb over. Maybe I could blame my ever-dwindling attention span on a world where we find 280 character tweets too much to absorb sometimes. But I know my love for reading is still there, it’s just buried under the need to over-analyze and find arguments for essays. When your mind is still in college mode, it’s hard to overlook certain aspects of books and enjoy them for fun’s sake.
So how do you begin to get yourself out of the reading rut? As a kid, I could read multiple books in a day. If only there was a way to rekindle the actual fun part of reading without a time machine.
For me, the best way to get back into the groove is to take baby steps. I’ve been reading a lot of comics and graphic novels because I’m a visual person. And the combination of graphics and text make it easy to breeze through the thickest of books. The illustrations do a lot of the legwork when it comes to storytelling, in a way that written word just can’t mimic. And as an artist, reading comics is like killing two birds with one stone; I can find inspiration while putting a dent in my TBR. And since I’m on a true crime kick, one of my favorite graphic novels lately has been My Friend Dahmer.
Audio books are also a great way to get in some reading, especially when multitasking. If I’m driving a fair distance, I’ll listen to something on the way there. A good narrator can also make the driest of books more interesting, especially some of the classics I’ve been pushing off. And it’s pretty easy to find free audiobooks on Spotify and YouTube, so even if you’re not totally into the auditory experience, at least you’re not losing anything by trying it out.
However, even as helpful as these forms of reading can be, motivation is still a factor I need to consider. Recently, one of my best friends and I decided to start a “book club” consisting of just the two of us (so far). I feel way more driven to read when somebody else is relying on me for conversation or I have some sort of deadline. This kind of sounds like school all over again, but you get to pick what you read and you don’t have to write an essay at the end.
Reading should never be a chore, but after countless hours of studying novels from the early 1900s and articles about ancient ruins, it’s difficult to find the spark again. Like with anything you’re obligated to do, even hobbies you love lose their fun factor. But with some time and gentle goals, we jaded college grads can read again with fervor.