Let’s face it– without the holidays, winter would be the absolute worst. For many people, whether they celebrate during this time or not, it’s still the worst time of year. I see you, fellow book nerd, trying to survive with your cup of tea in your cozy reading nook. Sometimes bundling up with a good book isn’t enough to battle the dreary mood that often sets in this time of year. So for all of our sakes, here are some bookish methods and habits for staying motivated during the winter.
Revisit Your Fave Reads From Spring and Summer
A great way to get out of the year end funk is to look back at the rest of the year, toward times and events that you remember fondly. Revisiting the books you read from January through August is an often nostalgic reminder of some fave pieces that you may have forgotten.
Booksloth is a great app to get started tracking your previously read books and posting your thoughts on them online. The community aspect is still getting on its feet, but the utility value of Booksloth as a customizable catalog of all your previously read and must-read books is quite handy.
Remember when you read that book in April, and it made you feel all warm with springtime sun? How about that summer read that you almost dropped in a puddle during a thunderstorm? Going back to books you enjoyed during the sunnier months is a nice way of reminding yourself that these cold dreary days won’t last forever.
Engage with Bookish Fandoms
When it’s harder to spend time outdoors, finding new ways to socialize is essential. Use your free time cooped up inside to interact with folks online who’ve fallen in love with the same books as you have. Social media sites like Reddit, Tumblr and Tiktok are good, anonymous ways of engaging in many populated communities at once. Book fandoms are notably some of the smallest out there, so it can be difficult to find a place where other like-minded individuals enjoy what you do. But even book-centric websites like Goodreads provide smaller platforms of interaction that are wholly fulfilling when it comes to sharing opinions on books.
Share art, opinions, and even fan-writing about the books you’ve been obsessing over for months– doing so can help soothe some of that loneliness brought on by the colder months.
Keep up with New Releases
Fall and winter is historically a time for great new releases, even if they’re often overlooked in year end “Best of” lists. Maybe it’s something to do with the angst of long nights, cold winds and dead plants, but the literary world often whips out some of its best stuff during this time. Keep an eye on sites like Goodreads, and even online booksellers like Amazon and B&N for updates on what’s coming soon and what new releases are worth looking into. Definitely pay attention to news sites like Bookstr for fresh new recommendations.
Keeping an eye out for new reads to get you through winter is a fun challenge, like a scavenger hunt where the reward may very well be your next obsession.
Read and Write Poetry
Now I know what you’re thinking- yeah no, there’s no way I’m writing poetry. Maybe you think you don’t have the skill for it. Well, I’m gonna let you in on a little secret– poetry is literally whatever you want it to be. It can be whatever rambling thoughts show up in your head; it isn’t necessarily perfectly structured stanzas filled with a lot of fancy words. If it helps, don’t think of what you write as poetry. Just start writing thoughts that show up in your head, but don’t think about the act of writing itself.
Whether what you come up with is accidentally profound or not doesn’t matter. Poetry is written and received as a connection to another’s psyche. The poetry that’s best known is that which is universally relatable, but we maybe didn’t know it was relatable until someone wrote a poem about it. When you’re feeling down, unmotivated, sick of the holidays and the cold and the lack of daylight, spinning a few lines of poetry might help you make sense of what you’re feeling and let it go.
If that’s not your preferred method of creative expression, a perfectly suitable replacement is reading someone else’s poetry. It has been a stellar year for poetry, from A Hundred Lovers by Richie Hiffman to Best Barbarian by Roger Reeves. Even if you don’t consider yourself a huge poetry fan, it’s worthwhile to stick your toe in the water of something that may end up greatly affecting you. As ever, human connection is key to motivating yourself through the winter, and poetry is one of the most intimately human art forms.
Give Your Local Library Some Love
With students off for the holidays and indoor spaces becoming more populated, libraries are a great hangout spot during the winter. If you’re desperate for a way to get together with friends, chilling out at the local library- quietly and respectfully, of course- is the way to go. Even if you just need an excuse to be around people for a little bit without any social pressure, the library is like a garden of knowledge, one you can browse through at your leisure.
Additionally, if you’re on break and anxious for something meaningful to do, we’d recommend supporting the library you love so much. Either through donating time, money or books, giving back to the place that brings you so much joy is truly in the spirit of the season. Consider volunteering some of that off time to help out at these public institutions– you may find yourself bonding with your fellow librarians, as well as gathering some great new book recommendations.
Getting Through Winter, the Bookish Way
Whether you’re crazy excited about the holidays, or you’d rather just close your eyes and sleep until winter is over, getting through these chilly months can be really tough. If you’re starting to feel like a hermit, make the effort to engage with others about stuff you enjoy, either in person or online. Whatever the case, fall and winter can be a great time to reflect on everything you’ve read over the year and get started on finding next year’s bookish obsession.