More than a year ago, I made a video in which I spoke about how to get out of a reading slump. The video wasn’t a big hit, really. It’s gotten fewer than 400 views so far, although the comments told me that it helped a few people. And that’s what matters to me. This isn’t an ‘I’m looking at the silver lining’ kinda thing, though, because YouTube is more sweat than earnings. But I really do feel that at least one of these tips will help if you’re in a reading slump. All of these are tried and tested – as I always do with my book recommendations and book reviews.
Before anything, however… What exactly is a reading slump?
A reading slump is a reader’s worst nightmare (figuratively) and a period of time in which no book seems to hold their attention. They can’t seem to be able to focus on any book. They don’t seem to find any book interesting and move from book to book trying to find that one book that will break this traffic jam of sorts. In this period, giving up on a book happens every other day – if one has picked up a book, that is. This can be annoying because the reader might want to read a lot, to get through their TBR, but their brain is constantly going, “SLUMP SLUMP SLUMP!”
While I wrote this script (since it started out as a video), I kept in mind that not everybody is the same and the same tips might not be for everybody. I went through a horrible, horrible reading and life slump this year and applying a few of these tips actually helped me through it. This got me thinking that I needed to bring this back, maybe this time, in written format, what with me reviving this blog with more vigor than I’ve seen in years. So here we are.
Read on for 10 tips on how to get out of a reading slump. Not to sound like a commercial but apply one or more of these and watch as the reading slump leaves with a whimper. 😉
1. Don’t force yourself to read.
Forcing yourself to read will only take the fun out of things. Reading is supposed to relax you, to bring excitement, to be fun. All of these are almost never genuine when done forcefully. So remember these when you’re in a reading slump and are starting to become desperate.
Treat this like everything in the world that takes time to develop. Pushing it won’t help. Take a break instead. Do something else. Watch TV shows or movies. Travel (responsibly). Go on dates with yourself. Sleep more. Invest your time in another hobby maybe. But during the reading slump, be patient with yourself. This matters more than you think.
If you still want to know how to get out of a reading slump, then here are some other tips that have helped me.
2. Reread favorites.
This almost never fails, really. Rereading your favorite books reminds you of why you love reading and may push you back into the fray. It comforts you and makes you feel like you’re surrounded in a warm embrace. And isn’t it during a slump that you need assurance, a warm embrace the most?
3. Read something easy.
This might be a way to trick your slump into going away. You know the rush readers get from finishing a book? Finishing an easy book and experiencing this rush might be a way out of the slump. You could pick short books or ones that make you laugh or children’s books or middle grade books – these could be the gold you’re looking for. This has actually worked for me and I must tell you, the adrenalin rush of finishing a book while battling a slump? Ah. Glorious, smug peace.
4. Enlist the help of a friend – buddy read!
You know how when you want to go on a diet or you want to exercise, you sometimes want motivation? So you turn to a friend to keep you company as you do this so that you can actually get through it? This is like that, too.
Ask a friend to help you by reading along with you. As you read the book and discuss it with your friend, you might, thanks to their opinions – be it same or different – see the book and reading it in a brand new light. This might, in turn, be the magnet that pulls you back from your reading slump.
5. Enlist the help of multiple readers – join a book club!
This is similar to buddy-reading with a friend, just with multiple friends. One upside to this is that you get more opinions, more people to bounce off your own opinion with, and more excitement. Worth trying, really.
6. Try audiobooks.
Switching up reading formats could help in driving out your reading slump by making reading more interesting for you. You’re still consuming the story, but in a different format. And I think that is something to be tried.
There’s this whole ableist debate about whether reading audiobooks is real reading or not. To them, I’ll always say: Remember all those times when, as a child, you listened to bedtime stories from your parents or your grandparents telling you stories on a cosy afternoon? I’d be insulting you if I said, “Oh, so you technically didn’t read it, so you didn’t learn it”, wouldn’t I? I don’t want to use to tit for tat technique but they don’t seem to listen to other reason!
Gah, this is a long topic. I will come up with a blog post about this soon, I’m thinking. 😛
Pick something you’ve been putting off or something you’d never go for. It could be something that you didn’t even know you needed and could be the thing that pulls you out of the slump.
I must say that this doesn’t always work because reading slumps might, more often than not, need familiarity to be kicked out. But experimenting is worth a try.
8. Do something that calms you that involves books.
This could be anything, ranging from watching bookish videos to making an inventory of the books you own to reorganizing your shelves (as you run your hands over the spines and covers of your books, you just might want to dive right back in) to buying books to book photography to setting up your reading nook that you’ve been putting off for way too long – anything! Do anything with books that doesn’t involve reading them.
9. Read gists of books you’ve already read.
There are websites like Blinkist that help you with book summaries. Or read your own reviews/thoughts of the books you’ve read. This might help you dive back in and rediscover your love for reading without actually reading the book again.
10. Try graphic novels or comics.
Another great way on how to get out of a reading slump is reading graphic novels or comics. This could be a sub-point for #7 but this format of reading, along with pictures/graphics, could retain your attention while helping you grasp the story at hand. And when you’re done with multiple graphic novels or comics, go back to point #3 to where I’m talking about the adrenalin rush that comes with finishing a book. Double whammy, if you ask me. 😉
I’ll wrap this post up by circling back to point one: Do not force yourself. Take your time to get out of the reading slump. If you’re stressed about the thing that is supposed to bring you peace, then what’s the point? Take it easy or as easy as you can.
What do you think of this blog post? Did you like it? Did you not like it? What do you do when you’re in a reading slump? Do you follow any of these tips? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!
I’ll see you in the next blog post.
Until next time, keep reading, go easy on yourself, and add melodrama to your life!