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Most enthusiastic readers have a problem: not enough time to quench our reading thirst. So we wedge reading in wherever we can, between appointments, over lunch hours, while getting the oil changed or when we can barely hold our eyes open at night. Deep down, we crave something more, like a long, luxurious afternoon when we can read without interruption.

Here’s my newest strategy: make reading appointments. You schedule appointments for haircuts, manicures, oil changes and dental checkups, right? Why wouldn’t you do the same for reading—especially if you’re a professional writer. By that, I include anyone who writes intentionally and regularly for an audience—whether you are paid or not. Hint: bloggers, this means you!

Writers must salvage time to read. Leave that out of your routine and see how fast you lapse into the abundant corporate babble and keyword nonsense that plagues media today. Do you really want to be one of those writers who uses many words to say almost nothing? Reading is a “sharpen the saw” activity.

I’ve promised myself three, 45-minute reading appointments per week, not counting the time I scavenge here and there. Just to cement the deal and keep myself motivated, I’m merging it with another ritual—setting an elegant spread of tea. In the time it takes me to properly savor two cups of tea, I can get my reading fix. Another possibility: take your book to a favorite locale and soak it up while you read.

Fun discoveries from this week’s read, Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch, by Constance Hale:

The texting courtship.

Texting may be an older form than we imagine. In the late 1860s and 1870s, a man carried escort cards that read: “May I.C.U. Home?” In this example, the recipient tore off one side if she accepted the invite, the other if she already had an escort. Presumably, this saved both parties the embarrassment of dealing with rejection.

Our brainy past.

In a world without TVs and computers, people used their brains for entertainment. Exquisite Corpse, for example, was a 1920s parlor game where people sat around, assembling random words in certain patterns—e.g. The+nown+adverb+verb+the+adjective+nown.

Where’s Waldo?

A virtual Twitter friend of mine, @4ndyman, is mentioned on page 39. The author admires Andy’s Twitter profile! Finding that was like spotting Waldo on a page!


Pictured above is my Saturday Tea/Reading scene, shown with a vintage purse and hanky from my Etsy store. Now, let’s play Exquisite Corpse: I’m giving away a vintage or vintage-inspired handkerchief for one lucky reader comment, drawn from the entries for the following pattern: The+adjective+noun+adverb+verb+the+adjective+nounHave fun! All entries must be made by September 30!

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.