The Texts You (might) Hate: Non-Fiction – OurWarwick
OurWarwick

The Texts You (might) Hate: Non-Fiction

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)
Hannah Filer | English and Theatre Studies (Warwick Scholar) Contact Hannah
Anything at all! I'd love to hear from you if…
Find out more about me Contact Hannah

Although taking a humanities degree comes part and parcel with reading (and lots of it), you will never enjoy every single text you are required to consume. I’ve always found it difficult to get through texts that disinterest me – particularly non-fiction. One of the reasons I chose an English and Theatre degree was so I could read mostly fiction texts, which I find more engaging! Of course, at university, there are countless research papers and non-fiction writings that you are required to get through. Here is my tip to power through non-fiction reading that can often be less-than engaging.

The factor I struggle with most when it comes to non-fiction reading is motivation – if I’m not particularly interested in reading the text, then my brain will kill all sense of motivation. The way I combat this is with time limits. I will allocate myself a time to read the text – usually when I’ve just finished something I enjoy, like a society meeting, rehearsal, or even a fun seminar. My theory is that my brain still feels happy from the previous activity, making it much easier to combat how much it dislikes a text. 

Then I will set a timer for a short amount of time. Of course, this depends on the length and complexity of the text – I find 15 minutes is a good length of time, with just enough room to write notes alongside. I promise myself that I only need to spend those 15 minutes on the text, so if it really is boring, I can move onto something more engaging straight afterwards. Then I power-read the text over those 15 minutes. A lot of the time, the time limit helps motivate me to read faster, so I can cram everything into those 15 minutes. I often reach the end of those 15 minutes having either completed the reading, or having a short amount left. It’s much easier to persuade yourself to spend a few more minutes on the reading when you only have 3 pages left to digest! If you reach the end of those 15 minutes and you still have  a chunk left to consume, just congratulate yourself on your focus and immediately decide when your next 15 minutes will be scheduled. It might be in half an hour, or it might be tomorrow morning. Either way, put it out of your mind until your next reading session is scheduled. This means your energy is not being drained by procrastination, and you can devote your focus elsewhere.

If you are still really struggling to get this reading done, you can amp up the time pressure by scheduling your 15 minutes right before the seminar or lecture that you need it done for. Of course, I only recommend this if the text is short enough and simple enough that you feel confident that you can get it done in one sitting. In addition, I would also recommend not scheduling it in the 15 minutes immediately before your deadline – that time is often taken up chatting to people outside seminar rooms or lecture halls. You could start your reading 30 minutes before the seminar is scheduled to begin, having already travelled to the vicinity of your class, meaning you are even more motivated to get it done in that one sitting. If you’re like me and unfinished reading takes up space in your brain, this can be a good tool to put it out of your mind until right before you actually need it.

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)
Hannah Filer | English and Theatre Studies (Warwick Scholar) Contact Hannah
Anything at all! I'd love to hear from you if…
Find out more about me Contact Hannah

Leave a comment

   or Log in?

Ask a
Blogger