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Wouldn’t it be nice if reading slumps didn’t exist? If we could always be reading a fabulous book that captures our attention and makes us eager to read the next book. Unfortunately, everybody goes through reading slumps and that’s okay! If you’re in the middle of a reading slump, I have some practical tips to help bring you out of your reading slump.
Before we dive in, what is a reading slump? A reading slump is a lull in your reading habits. We sometimes stop making time to read or lose interest in what we are reading, which in turn can lead to a reading slump.
So what causes a reading slump?
- A change in lifestyle
- A loss of interest in our current reading material
- A change or loss of a job
- An addition to the family
- Life events (such as someone passing or a move)
Reading slumps can happen for a myriad of reasons. Sometimes when you find yourself in a reading slump, you can feel guilty and wonder if reading slumps are normal.
The answer is yes! Reading slumps are completely normal and even the most avid of readers can find themselves in reading slumps.
Reading requires time and attention. In our fast-paced lives, it can be hard to simply sit down and read. And that’s okay. The goal is never to force yourself to read if you don’t want to, but rather read because you enjoy it.
These feelings can come in waves, during different seasons of our lives. It’s okay if you love reading at the beach in the summer, but much prefer to snuggle up and watch Netflix in the winter. What matters is doing what makes you happy when it comes to reading and reading in a way that brings you joy.
With that said, let’s dive right in!
1. Reread an old favorite
This one might be one of my favorite tips. Find the book that got you into reading. Or find a copy of a book you genuinely love reading.
For me, Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan and Inkheart by Cornelia Funke were the first two books that really solidified my love of reading. Whenever I am struggling to read, I will sometimes grab one of these off my bookshelf.
Sometimes going back to the place where it all started is all you need to get yourself out of a reading slump.
2. Pick Something You Normally Wouldn’t
Let’s say you normally read contemporary romance. Lately, it just hasn’t been hitting the spot for you. Consider trying to go out of your comfort zone. Grab a copy of a domestic thriller that’s popular in book communities right now. Or perhaps find the memoir of a celebrity you like.
You would be surprised by what other genres and types of stories you enjoy when you pick up a book you did not think you would enjoy.
If it turns out that your gut was right and that book sucked, try a different genre. Then you can narrow it down further to get back to reading books you genuinely enjoy.
3. Ask for Recommendations
Where you choose to ask is up to you. An online book community or a close friend/family member are great places to ask for book recommendations. Sometimes reading what someone else likes can either solidify what you like to read, or help you branch out.
This method is also easier than picking a book you normally wouldn’t. A little bit more thought goes into this one and you can also end up making new friends or bonding with someone over a shared love of a book!
4. Switch Formats
This one seems kinda obvious. But if you always read physical books, consider listening to an audiobook. Or downloading an eBook to your phone/tablet. (Or eReader device)
I love audiobooks for the simple fact that it makes it easier to get more reading in, while also multitasking. Listening while commuting or drive, listening while cleaning or doing errands around the house.
Audiobooks have made reading more accessible.
Likewise with eBooks, maybe there is a book you want to read but can’t get your hands on a physical copy. Ebooks are an easy way to access books you want to read, right at your fingertips.
5. DNF a Bunch of Books
Okay, hear me out on this one, because I know exactly what you think I sound like right now.
Sometimes we finish books purely because we feel as if we have to. The truth is that you shouldn’t read anything you don’t connect with. Go to a book store or thrift store and read the first 10-15 pages of a book.
If it doesn’t pass the ‘vibe check’ then it goes back on the shelf. No investment other than a few minutes of your time.
It might feel silly to constantly pick up books and put them back on the shelf, but what better way to decide early on whether or not you will like a book?
6. Shake Up Your Reading Routine
Sometimes all it takes to get of your reading slump is changing things up.
If you normally read in your kitchen while you have breakfast before you leave for work. Consider reading in the evening before you go to bed.
It might seem silly or counterproductive, but sometimes changing our reading routine is just what we need to get the gears moving again. And find ourselves eager to curl up with our current read.
7. Don’t Guilt Yourself
With online communities like BookTok and BookTube making reading books in large quantities normal, it can make you feel bad if you don’t read as much.
For instance, I am a slow reader. I used to hate this about myself because it meant that in a good month, I’d probably only read three books. This took the fun out of reading real fast.
Instead of immersing myself in a story, I was pushing to read faster and faster. I felt like I needed to read more and more and more. As if I hadn’t read more than ten books in a month I was somehow falling behind.
These thoughts were so far from the truth. Reading should be enjoyed. It should feel fulfilling, not as though it is a race.
We can love reading and only read one book a month. We can love reading and only spend ten minutes a day dedicated to reading. Read how you want, in a way that works for you. Don’t let naysayers bring you down.
8. Look Beneath the Surface
Sometimes we fall into a reading slump because of something else going on. Without realizing it, anxiety or depression could be the cause of your reading slump. We are human and humans have feelings and sometimes those feelings can interrupt our lives.
Sometimes life is just doing too much and we need to take a step back and process our feelings.
Consider journaling or confiding in someone you trust about your feelings. Being able to process our feelings is important, but understanding what contributes to a reading slump, will make it much easier for you to get out of said reading slump.
9. Read Shorter Stories
This could be a short story. A collection of short stories or poems.
Sometimes we don’t realize we are reading large-volume novels until we are burnt out from them.
All we need sometimes is to give ourselves something we can finish in a short amount of time. A little bit like hitting ‘refresh’ before going back to our longer novels.
I like to regularly add a mix of short stories and collections to my reading. This helps break up what I’m reading but can also introduce me to authors and writers I might not have known about before.
9. Likewise, Try Graphic Novels
I am not the type of person to read graphic novels. They have just never grabbed my attention.
During one of my reading slumps, however, I discovered the WebToon series Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe and instantly fell in love with it. Heartstopper by Alice Oseman is another fantastic series of graphic novels.
Like short stories, graphic novels also give us a bit of a respite from our usual form of novels.
10. Try Out a Series
If you’re anything like me, you read a lot of standalone stories.
However, shaking it up and investing your time in a series might be just what you need. Maybe following a cast of characters beyond just one book is enough to pull you out of your reading slump.
11. Watch an Adaptation
If you really feel stuck and trying out a short story, graphic novel, or series just doesn’t feel like it will help. Consider watching an adaptation.
It could be an adaptation of a book you’ve already read, or perhaps a book you haven’t yet read.
Sometimes a bad adaptation can push you to want to read the book, because the story really isn’t that bad. Right?
Likewise, a really good adaptation can make you want nothing more than to read the book it was based on. Which can help push you out of your reading slump.
12. Combine Two Hobbies
One of my favorite things to do is cook. I absolutely love being in the kitchen and trying out new recipes or making comfort food.
A lot of people like to combine their love of food and reading by creating dishes inspired by what they are reading.
If you find yourself feeling a bit stuck, search online for recipes based on the book you are reading for inspiration. Or to try a recipe someone else has come up with.
Check out this fun article from the Tea and Ink Society “9 Recipes Inspired by Famous Books: Eat Your Way Through Literature“. I personally was a big fan of trying out some of the butterbeer recipes.
13. Organize Your Bookshelves
Or really your books in general. If you have a dedicated space for your books and it has become cluttered. Take a moment to declutter.
Pull all the books down, and wipe all of the surfaces clean. Rearrange your books and trinkets to make the space feel refreshed.
If you don’t have an organizational system, consider creating one! For a long time, my books lived in stacks on the floor of my bedroom. It wasn’t until I moved into the first apartment that I finally invested in a solid bookshelf and gave my books a “proper” home.
14. Join a Book Club
Reading can be an isolating hobby. Outside of interacting with people when we buy books (unless you buy online or through self-checkout), there isn’t much social interaction, unless we go out seeking it.
Joining a book club can be fun not only for discussing books, but also an easy way to find book recommendations. You can join a big book club ran by a celebrity, or a smaller one run by someone online, or even get your own book club started.
15. Make Reading Personal
What I mean is, plan a “reading hangout” with your best friend. Or plan a “reading date” with your partner. Bond with a family member through books.
Grab a book from your to-be-read list, or perhaps head to a book store. Then find a cozy location and settle in and just read.
If a book club is a bit too nerve-wracking because you are joining a group of people you don’t know, “reading hangouts” with people you know and trust can be a great way to get out of a reading slump, while also spending time with people you care about.
16. Live a Bookish Lifestyle
Surround yourself with all things book related.
Listen to podcasts about books, check out Bookstagram and BookTok, and BookTube accounts, read reviews online, listen to author interviews, and regularly visit your local bookstores and libraries. Even if you don’t purchase or borrow any books.
Allow your life to center around literature more often and you’ll be surprised how inspired you can become to get back to reading.
17. Create Your Own Bookish Content
Start a blog or a YouTube channel, or a social media account and create your own bookish content. Talk about the books you love. Or hate. Or have no opinion on.
Write reviews. Comment on others’ bookish content. Give and receive bookish recommendations.
This blog helps prevent me from falling into a reading slump because I look forward to writing reviews on the books I read and seeing what books other bloggers are talking about.
18. Ride It Out
At the end of the day, if you’ve tried out a bunch of things and still find yourself in a slump, consider embracing it.
Like everything else in life, sometimes we need a break. Forcing yourself to read will only cement the fact that you don’t want to read right now.
And that’s okay! Reading is meant to be fun. You should read because you genuinely enjoy it.
When I was an undergrad, my reading slump lasted years. I was too tired to read books on my personal to-be-read list because I read so much for school. Being an English major made me temporarily lose my love for reading.
And that’s okay too! I knew that when I was ready, I would get back to reading for enjoyment. It took me some time but I did.
You can too. Allow yourself the space to try new things and come back to reading if and when it feels right.
If you’ve made it this far in the article, thank you! I genuinely hope that some of these (if not all) can help you get out of your reading slump.
Life is too short to be stressed out and force yourself to do things you don’t want to do.
Remember to do what works best for you and live your best life!
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