I had a recent discussion with fellow writer Rebecca Frost. She said, “Sometimes I feel like I’m just shouting into the void.”

I hear you, Rebecca, you aren’t speaking into the void, somebody is listening.

Sometimes waiting for someone to read my writing is like watching a giant bowl in the sink fill one drop at a time. I spend a lot of time writing and hoping in the sea of other voices someone will hear me too.

I’m a writer on Medium it’s an engaging platform to say the least. I take my posts from WP and republish them on that site. I appreciate seeing my words being read by other people. It’s not necessarily an ego thing, although getting a clap gives me a great sense of validation.

What it means to me is that I just might be making a difference in someone’s life. It’s not like I’m getting a ton of views, one view and a comment is enough for me. It’s reciprocated on that platform. If they read my words, I’ll do the same for them.

From my favorite new show, Jan said it best

You know, the sharing of stories is kind of transactional. When someone gives you a story, you owe them one of equal or greater value in return.

-Jan, Only Murders in the Building

In this sense, this is what I do when I read a post or an article. I’ll read their words and tell them why I liked it and more often than not, I will get a reply.

Face to face interactions have been replaced with screen time and a lot of it. I text, I Tweet (now), and I talk about what I’m writing through images and quotes. I also do a lot of reading. Lately, I’ve been reading articles. With all the information consumed, how can you engage yourself as an active reader?

Be Present

Stop thinking about what you have to get done and practice being here, right now. Were you thinking of the things you needed to pick up at the grocery store or other errands. Put it on hold and redirect your attention. Repeat after me, “Be. Here. Now.” It’s a great mantra if you feel like you tend to have a case of the scatter brain like I do at times. When I feel like my eyes are glazing over, it’s time for me to refocus my attention.

Highlight

For Apple products, LINER is available to use on desktop. Reading a book? Kindle offers highlighting and notes. You Version when studying the Bible also offers helpful tools and has several Bible translations to choose from. I appreciate the cross-references and having a place to type my notes. These tools are especially handy when I don’t have a writing utensil in hand.

Read the text out loud.

I’ve been reading poems out loud lately and as I convert my blog posts into audio files, it keeps me present. You can be nothing but present when you read out loud and you’re more likely not to fall asleep.

Ask questions

While I ask questions, I’ll look up an explanation or I read another article if don’t completely understand the topic. Sometimes it leads me on a different path of learning something completely different, in which case is an added bonus.

Share

Sharing helps you retain information and helps you understand the text better. As Albert Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” If something you read can improve your life, what better way than to integrate it into part of your lifestyle.

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I’m sure a lot of this sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s a good refresher. Never stop learning, my friends. If you have other helpful tips on improving your skills as an active reader, let me know by adding a comment below.

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