How I Read: A Pictorial Guide to a Daily Routine

How I Read: A Pictorial Guide to a Daily Routine

“What’s your favorite…?” was a common game among myself and my siblings when I was growing up. When it comes to the question What’s your favorite time of the day?, I don’t think my answer has changed at all over the years. It’s still: Reading time.

I tease sometimes about how I guard my morning writing time with a flamethrower and a machete. But my evening reading time is almost as sacrosanct. I look forward to it all day long, not just because it means BOOKS!, but also because it’s the quietest time in my day: no Internet, no work, no writing even. It’s just me and a story. Or two. Or three.

This is what reading time looks like for me:

Getting Comfy Reading Time Kindle

Getting comfy.

What the heck, right?

What the heck, right?

Over the years of battling TMJ (aka jaw pain), I’ve discovered that sitting with my head bowed over a book is a fast track to ouchiness. Also, I have bad wrists, which means holding a heavy book can be stressful.

Hence, the above contraption. The black tray is half of a standing desk set-up. The blue pillow-y thing is a Book Seat, which holds tablets and paperback books alike. It keeps my books at eye-level. All I have to do is turn the pages.

Patrick Rothfuss Slow Regard of Silent Things

Book #1: The main attraction of the night is always whatever novel I happen to be reading.

I start out reading my current fictional partner for 45 minutes. Right now, it’s Patrick Rothfuss’s sorta sequel to the Kingkiller Chronicles The Slow Regard of Silent Things

Kindle The Writer Magazine Reading Time

Book #2: Next up is 15 minutes of either a magazine (I subscribe to both Writer’s Digest and The Writer, for my monthly writing fix) or a short book.

Usually, these short books are either business- or writing-related. Next up is Rayne Hall’s The Word-Loss Diet (as I continue hacking away at Wayfarer‘s word count).

Book #3: Finally, I round out with 30 minutes in a non-fiction book.

Book #3: Finally, I round out with 30 minutes in a non-fiction book.

At the moment, I’m still working on Jane Leavy’s excellent Mickey Mantle biography The Last Boy.

People sometimes ask how I manage to read 100 books every year. Well, this is how! (And speaking of 100 books, don’t forget about my Read 100 Books in 2016 challenge. Every winner gets a free e-book from me! We’re having a ball over in the Goodreads group.)

Let’s chat! How do you read? Do you have a set time in your daily routine? Or do you just grab a book whenever you have time? Tell me in the comments!

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  1. I always set aside a few minutes at bedtime to make sure of my daily fix, but other than that it’s a case of ‘any time I get a spare minute’. I have a book by my bed, obviously. I also have one on my desk for any ‘downstairs’ time. I’ve an audiobook loaded on my iPad at all times: for bus trips, while washing up/cooking etc. and my criteria for buying a handbag is always ‘is there room in there for a paperback?’ So I’ve always got a book with me for waiting rooms, queues etc. Then there’s a book in my work bag for tea breaks and lunch breaks – this one is usually a work-related book, such as a junior title in preparation for my Chatterbooks group. Lastly, I have several fan-fiction sites bookmarked on my computer and dip into those from time to time, especially if I’m waiting for something to load or update.

    • Wow, you’re a professional! I try to do the same. I just use my kindle reading app though.


    • K.M. Weiland says:

      So you’ve got a different book for each area of your house? I like that approach, both handy and organized.

      • Pretty much. Except I don’t keep one in the loo – not only unhygienic but the rest of the family would moan as I’d be in there way too long! I try to vary the type of book I’m reading so that I don’t confuse the plot lines. So I’ll be reading a junior title, a sci-fi, a crime novel, an autobiography etc.

  2. Hey there,

    Nice pics. There is no set time currently in the mix. I’m aiming for 1-2 hrs of reading time. Probably average about 60 min a day not including audiobooks. Changing my strategy to stay on track with 8 books per month or 2 per week.

    Do rereads count towards the total? How would goodreads recognize a reread? Because I plan on rereading Structuring and Outlining your novel several times. I’ve got the paperback, digital, and the audio companion for when I’m on the go. And I’m always on the go.

    I do look forward to reading throughout the day when I can steal a moment. Here a little, there a little.

    Have fun!

  3. I don’t have a set routine, which is why a lot of days go by where I don’t manage to read anything. But I do try to leave a book in the lavatory. 😉 That actually tends to work out pretty well for me, at least I can snag a few minutes throughout the day! 😉 Seriously, though, I’m trying to learn to use my daughter’s seatwork time when I need to be available, but am not actively involved in her schooling at that moment for reading. It can get a lot of interruptions, depending on what she’s doing and if she grasps a concept, but it can work some days. I need to get back into a habit of reading before bed. My husband thwarted this last night, deciding to go for a second episode of the show we’re watching on Netflix (even though I was really tired already, and probably should have just gone to bed!)

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Yes, there are so many competing demands for our “story” time. I limit TV and movies, but there’s a lot of good stuff I want to see–and it inevitably ends up encroaching on reading time occasionally.

  4. Do you count listening to audio books as “reading” a book?

  5. I have a day-time book and a before-bed book, and now having finally put the kindle app on my phone, I read while I’m waiting in line for coffee or sitting in the chiro’s office waiting for an appointment… or when I walk down to my friend’s house to cat-sit… or while on the bus… Now if I could just infuse my life with writing so easily…

  6. Honestly, I’m not much of a reader. I’m very visual, so enjoy comics and movies a lot more (though haven’t bought comic books since I was a kid) I’ve read a few authors though that were able to pull me into a story that so engrossed me that I’d marathon read my way through it to see how it ended. If that didn’t happen, or I was brought out of the story because of one thing or another… it’d be tough to get back into it and reading time became whenever. When they’re good, hard to put down… when they’re not, hard to pick up.

    Recently I read two Anthony Horowitz novels, The House of Silk and Moriarty for the 100 book challenge (but mostly because I thought it’d be good research) His Foyle’s War is an excellent example of plots, subplots, major/minor characters and ‘court intrigue’, power plays/double dealings and I really hoped the same would be found in his novels as well.) It felt like walking through waist high powdered snow, trudging to an end I hoped would offer… nevermind. Both were disappointing. Ended up, very early on, alternating chapters between the two books just to maintain interest. (grrr 😉 )

    About the only real reading routine that I have… which really isn’t a routine… is reading different parts of the bible… am, noon-ish, pm… again, not really set times, but more like getting together/talking with a friend about their day, hear what they have to say, receive counsel/advice from… not so much routine as essential.

    Well, need to get back to the reading list… month and a half in and I’m well behind the pace. Thanks for sharing your methodology… oh, and nice socks. 🙂

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Fuzzy socks are vital to a good reading time, don’t you know? 😉 I’ve been wanting to read more graphic novels, but haven’t found anything that really attracts me as yet.

  7. I read each afternoon and right before bedtime. If I could get away with it, I’d read between four to eight, but I leave that time for family. On Sundays, I read and listen to e-books a lot during the day. (Of course after church.) I usually mute a golf game and read or listen to a e-book.

  8. Hi KMW,

    As a novice and hope-to-be historical romance novel writer (You know, someone who has what he thinks is a great idea, but has to learn how to write a book!), I’ve been following your blog, YouTube videos, and facebook posts for some time. You have helped. Because of you, I’m learning stuff and things about writing. Thank you.

    Your mentioning of your TMJ in this post hit a nerve (Pun intended.) with me. I get TMJ and TMJ-like pain in my neck and shoulder from time to time. I have been a software developer, and I’ve spent countless days and hours hanging my head over the keyboard like a buzzard as I plinked out code. Result: PAIN! Shooting, electric-like pain radiating from my jaw to the end of my collarbone near the shoulder. I play golf, and the movement of the golf swing can aggravate my TMJ problems too. The “Pause” button of life is pressed until the TMJ pain stops, and then you live fearing when the next jolt might happen.

    It’s not fun, is it?

    NOPE, it sure ain’t! (Bad grammar intended.)

    I saw my doc, as you probably have yours, to figure out how to stop the TMJ. I’ll bet Physician Proper Posture Preaching Protocol happened when you saw the doc. It works, but it’s soooo easy to slip back into bad posture habits. Maybe some pain medicine was prescribed, but it’s not good to rely on that, IMO.

    Anyways, I went through a tough TMJ episode last October and I decided I needed something other than the Physician Proper Posture Preaching Protocol to get over it. I found a doc on YouTube who was worth more to me than ten doctor office visits. So, brace yourself, free advice ahead! (Yeah, I know, I know.)

    Here’s a doc guy on YouTube who has lots of videos about proper posture and getting over pain:
    Dr. Alan Mandell
    His YouTube name: motivationaldoc

    His videos helped me, so maybe you might want to look around for ones that might help you. His advice about using ice is what made the difference BIG TIME for me. Have a gander look-see at a few of his videos and see if he can be of any help to you.

    Okay, you might be shaking your head and thinking: “Oh man, now someone is giving me free TMJ medical advice in a comment!” Yup, I know, I know. Well, this from someone who deals with TMJ too, and it is meant in good faith.

    Most people have never heard of TMJ. I know how agonizing TMJ is. I was in such bad shape with TMJ last October that I was willing to consider anything. You’re the first person with TMJ that I’ve been able to pass my Dr. Mandell free advice along to.

    Well, it won’t hurt to do some YouTube Dr. Alan Mandell video searching, surfing, and watching will it? Aww, c’mon… why not?

    I hope you find Dr. Mandell helpful.


    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Thank you so much, Jonathan! This is incredibly kind of you. I will definitely check into Dr. Mandell. In return, something I would recommend that has really helped me, is acupuncture and acupressure. My chiropractor does the former on me, and I do the latter myself with the end of a pen.

  9. I usually have about 6-10 books going at any given time and which one I read depends on a lot of factors. Library books always jump to the top of the list– especially digital media which can’t be renewed.
    I typically have a few audio books going on my phone: one that my husband and I are listening to together and I can’t touch without him, as well as one or two of my own choice. Then another few in my Overdrive account from the library.
    The same goes for ebooks, though I try not to start too many at once.
    Print books have no such rules since I often set them down and lose track of them. I might have as many as ten going in different rooms of the house. I also tend to pick up books I’ve already read and skim them when I’m bored (of supposed to be cleaning) then plop down and finish reading the rest of the book in one sitting, from the point it fell open.
    Books are dangerous! Audio books are freeing up more time for me though, since I can enjoy listening to a book while I fold the laundry, wash dishes, or all the other mindless tasks a mom has to complete each day. I’m starting to think I’m overfilling the silence a little though. Maybe I need to scale back a bit.

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Fascinating! I love hearing other people’s “processes” for things like this. I’m more or less obsessive about reading books in the order I get them. I just finished all the books on my Kindle and am getting ready to dive into my pile of paperbacks.

  10. I do love my hour or reading last thing at night. 🙂 It’s one of the luxuries of being single! 😀

    Sometimes my health problems won’t allow it, and when they do I can’t read nearly fast enough to get through 100 books a year! 😀 But it’s a special, private time – something I treasure. 🙂

    • PS – I also often read for a few minutes in the loo. 😀 This is especially good for non-fiction books that you can read a short section of at a time. 🙂

  11. Tom Erdman says:

    Thanks for the insight into your habits! I personally always have an audio book on my phone; when I’m running, mowing, painting, whatever, I have it playing. I also set the last hour of every day apart for reading a physical book, then read on my kindle until I can fall asleep.

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Back when I worked a day job and had lots of “brain-free” time, I listened to audio books religiously (non-fiction; I’ve never liked my fiction read to me). I miss that!

  12. I read whenever I have the time, and often when I don’t. The amount of dinners I’ve burnt (or almost burnt) through “one more chapter…”

    If I have a new book, or I’m re-reading a favourite, it follows me around the house and often out of it as well, and I try to get in a few pages whenever there’s a few minutes downtime. Helps that I’m a very quick reader! At the moment, it’s my tablet following me around as I’ve downloaded about a dozen eBooks from the library to try and catch up with the list of “things I must get round to reading”.

    I also have a current longer read, usually non-fiction but sometimes a fiction book that’s a heavier going, somewhere around the sofa for when I get a longer reading session in the evening, but it’s not a set part of the routine – my evenings are mostly taken up with writing at the moment. In the daytime I’m running round after three small children so it’s the only time I get..

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      “I read whenever I have the time, and often when I don’t.” <--This should be a bumper sticker! 😀

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