There are times in my life when reading comes easily. I can devour book after book and nearly every waking thought is about the story I’m reading and the next one I’ve yet to read. It’s an exhilarating feeling and often feels like it will never end… until it does.
We’ve all been in them, so we all know how much they suck.
Book slumps are challenging and can be really frustrating. They can make you feel like you’re wasting your limited reading time. If you’re an avid reader, you know repeated weeks or months spent not reading can make life start to feel a bit bland. So how do you get out of this?
Well first, recognize that you’re in one. For me, this can look like picking up more than three books at a time and not getting very far in any of them because none seem to retain my interest. It can also manifest as me either not wanting to read or avoiding reading altogether. When I’m choosing to do anything besides reading I know that I’m probably in a slump.
Since I’m the type of person who feels it’s always important to be reading something, this is unacceptable. I know I’m not alone in this feeling. So here are a few tips and tricks I use when I need to get out of a book slump. Putting these to use typically help me snap out of it right quick.
1. Mix It Up
Of course the first step is to mix it up. Do you typically go for romance? Try a mystery. Purely a fiction reader? Try something non-fiction. If you’re stuck on sci-fi, go for something more contemporary. It’s not bad to have a favorite genre, but reading something with the same elements again and again can start to feel too repetitive, taking some of the magic away from the whole endeavor. Mixing things up can help renew your interest in reading in general, and then there’s the possibility of discovering a new genre you like. Win-win.
2. Mix It Up A Little More
If you’re constantly reading novels, try short stories. Into short stories? Try poems. Or maybe essays. Graphic Novels are always refreshing, at least for me. Similarly to the above, sometimes all it takes is a changing the type of book you’re reading for your interest to be renewed. Novel after novel after novel can be taxing. But going from novel to graphic novel to collection of essays can be just the variance you need to get you reading once more.
3. Read Shorter Works
If you’re picking up book after book and not getting through any of them, perhaps the problem you have is based on the length of the story. Once I wondered why I was having a hard time latching onto a new story when I realized that the book I had just finished was over 500 pages, and the new books I was attempting to read were about that amount, plus some. There’s nothing wrong with reading long books, but I do find that delving into a book that long takes some commitment. At the time, I just wasn’t up for that commitment. So if you want to read and you simply can’t seem to get back into it, opt for something you know you can fly through both to scratch that itch and to break the spell of just not being able to finish anything.
4. Re-read Something You Love
If reading itself is beginning to feel like a chore, then try re-reading a well-loved book. Chances are, it’ll help you remember why you love reading. Not to mention the physical act of making it through a book again can feel rewarding enough for you to get back to consistently reading.
5. Join A Book Club
Sometimes, taking the choice of your next read out of your hands can be exciting. And it could be that you’re in a slump because you’re overthinking your next read. So join a book club, and read whatever the current book choice is. Another benefit of this is that you’ll be held accountable by the others in your club to actually get through that book. It could be just the nudge you need.
6. Set Aside Time to Read
Life gets busy, and many times in the midst of it we stop doing the things that bring us joy. If you’re always on the move and don’t have a moment to sit down to read, well, that could be the reason you’re in a book slump. If you’re not making time for reading, it’s simply not going to happen. So be sure to plan a day, clear a few hours to actually sit down and read.
7. Go Where the Books Are
Go to a bookstore, a library, a book fair. Go to an author signing or reading or book conference. Surround yourself with books. Being in a book slump can knock the drive to read right out of you, so it can be refreshing to go to a place where you can’t help but think about reading again which can be just the kick in the pants you need.
8. Watch TV, Go See A Movie, Play Video Games, Etc.
If you’ve tried all of the above and still feel like you’re in a book slump, there’s a possibility you just need a break from reading completely. Try watching a movie, playing a video game or something else creative. While reading is rewarding it can also be mentally taxing, depending on what you’re reading. And it’s normal to want a break from some things you love. So don’t be afraid to wait until you really and truly feel the need to read again. And don’t worry, you will.
How about you? How do you manage to get out of a book slump? Do you use any of the ways I’ve mentioned, or something else?