Monday, May 16, 2016

The "life/work/reading" balancing act

I used to find it strange when someone said that their personal reading time suffered because of school, or work, or social life. I always found time to read. Always. Even if it was just for those few minutes before falling asleep. I managed to do that through college, wedding/marriage and a couple different jobs.

Now I work in editing. I literally correct grammar and spelling for a living. For 40+ hours a week I scrutinize ads and listings, looking for mistakes. It’s a great job, I actually really enjoy it! However… for the first time in my life, my reading has suffered.

I settle down, open a book… and start looking for errors. Not on purpose! It’s all habit now. I find that my reading speed is slower than what it used to be. I’m used to reading slowly now, scanning for mistakes.  Even worse, finding mistakes in published pieces! I understand that mistakes happen. (I work in editing/publishing for heaven’s sake. I understand mistakes happen!) But once I find a mistake I get thrown out of the world I was trying to disappear into. I complain to my husband and usually just get a blank stare back. Reading is easy for him, incorrect punctuation and improper grammar don’t bother him in the least.

The solution? (Well, not exactly a solution, but a happy alternative.) AUDIOBOOKS. I’ve always enjoyed them, but now they’re a lifeline. Within the first week of my job I learned something absolutely delightful: My coworkers are audiobook junkies. I will never run out of books to listen to! We have a whole library of audiobooks here at work. We are even allowed to listen to them while working! I have one ear bud in 90% of the work day, listening to books and music. My coworkers are the same. It’s seriously a dream job. (Not to mention that working with such bookish people is a delight in and of itself.)

Can anyone relate? What are your best tricks to continue to enjoy reading? Share in the comments below!


  1. Oh yes! I usually won't buy a book on kindle unless I can read the first chapter because incorrect spelling and grammar will definitely ruin what might otherwise have been a good read. Street signs, store signs, emails...I can't turn off my internal critical editor. Audiobooks are a good choice, although there too, I find that mispronounced words or a bad match of reader to text is fatal.

  2. I swear, audiobooks saved my life when I started working above full-time. I was spending 60+ hours a week staring at a computer dealing with emails and spreadsheets and people, and I just couldn't get my brain to shut down when I tried to read. I'd get through a page or two and end up thinking about how to deal with such-and-such situation at work, and I'd get distracted. Or I'd just be completely brain-dead and I'd find myself rereading the same page a dozen or so times before giving up.

    Audiobooks completely saved me. They ACTUALLY keep me from thinking about work when I don't need to, because I force myself to pay attention to them. And as long as my hands are busy with a chore or a puzzle or something (or a game on my phone), I can listen to them for hours.

  3. A job where I could listen to books all day would be a dream. We aren't even allowed to listen to music. I manage to listen to books most of the rest of the time though.

  4. I love audiobooks for a different reason, but it does take longer to consume a book.

  5. I don't professionally edit books but I do copyedit for work occasionally and I seem to have an eagle eye for mistakes in published books. It's the worst! Usually it doesn't throw me tooooo much but I do get annoyed haha. As far as reading, I do have to take more breaks now in general. I'm tired a lot of the time and if I'm tired, I can't concentrate when I read, and I'm not good at reading only a couple pages at a time. I like to read in chunks! So I tend to give myself breaks from reading (and the guilt) until I feel like it, and I'm much happier than pushing through a book just for the sake of reading. I'm not sure if I'd like audiobooks but maybe I'll give them a try :)

  6. I'm the same way. Itry to ignore the mistakes but if there are to many I won't finish reading it. I do love the audio book option.

  7. I'm the same way. Itry to ignore the mistakes but if there are to many I won't finish reading it. I do love the audio book option.

  8. Audio books have been life savers for me lately. This pregnancy has made it hard to focus on actual written words. I listen in the car on the way to and from work daily.

    I don't notice errors when reading so much, because I'm usually absorbed into the world and characters enough to not let those issues bother me.

  9. I also work with correcting grammar and proofing... and I listen to a lot of audiobooks! When I read a book, I usually find at least one error. Even proofreaders need proofreaders! ;)

    Sometimes I just get too much screen time with my job to read off my kindle app when I am at home. I listen to audiobooks while I commute (motion sickness and not being able to move my arms on a sardine-packed bus...welcome to Sao Paulo...). I cannot multi-task at all. I can't even listen to music while I work.


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