Don’t be ashamed. We’ve all been there. A reading slump can last days, weeks, months and even YEARS. You’re just NOT in the mood to read. Maybe you’ve even tried picking up a book or two, but you just can’t commit to it. Perhaps a million different interests are calling to you instead. Maybe you’re a couple seasons deep into a Netflix binge. Maybe you just don’t FEEL LIKE IT, okay?! Whatever the reason for your reading slump, there IS a way out. If you want it to, it will eventually come to an end.
First thing’s first. Take a breath. It’s okay! So you’re not in the mood to read. If we’re just talking about reading for enjoyment, you don’t HAVE to do it! Take the pressure off yourself right here and now. Yeah, sure you’ve got a to-be-read (TBR) pile staring angrily at you from across the room, but unless you’re reading for work or school (which is a horse of a different color), there is absolutely no need to force it. Don’t drive yourself further from something you know you enjoy by forcing it on yourself when you’re just not feeling it. Reading for pleasure should be just that: pleasurable!
Okay? So hey, hey–look at me. Place your hand on the closest book and repeat after me. “I, [Your Name], solemnly swear to give myself permission to ride out my reading slump for however long I want.”
There. Now you don’t need to worry about it. Go forth and binge in peace. Take a break! When you start to feel ready to come back to reading, move on to the next section.
So you think you’re ready to jump back into reading? Great! But whoooaa there. Start slow, champ. You’re out of practice and you might find you need to build back up to your usual reading load. If there’s a book that’s calling to you from its shelf, go ahead and grab that one. If it excites you, that’s a wonderful sign. If you give it a try and you’re just getting nowhere, put it aside to pick up again later. Either give yourself a little more time or reach for something a little easier.
- Choose something from the YA shelf. Often these books are a bit less dense and more fast-paced, which is naturally gripping. For heaven’s sake, pick up and read the Harry Potter series if for some reason you haven’t yet. Even if you have, it’s a wonderful way to remind yourself what’s so exciting about reading.
- Reach for a favorite author! If there’s a book you haven’t read in a series you love or from an author you enjoy, why not check it out? Odds are you’re going to be more engaged with something you can reasonably assume you’ll like. You might even want to try rereading a favorite book that you haven’t touched in ages. See how much you’ve forgotten!
- Choose an autobiography from a comedian you admire. You’ll be laughing and usually these make for a light, fun read. For that matter, pick up any of the works of David Sedaris for the same reason.
- On a similar note, a collection of short stories is another great place to start. Each story requires much less commitment than a novel. Start with reading just one and go from there.
- Ease back into reading with a graphic novel! These range from dense to breezy. Select one that interests you or that you’ve heard good things about. Even if the writing is heavy, the images will help pull you into the story and keep you there.
- Look for a short or light nonfiction book on something that really interests you. The topic will keep you engaged and it won’t feel as daunting as starting a long novel.
As I stressed earlier, we all go through phases when it comes to our reading. Sometimes we’re in the mood for a particular genre for awhile and sometimes we don’t want to read at all. There’s no use in guilting yourself about it or feeling like some kind of failure. The important thing to remember is that you’ll come back to it in your own time. Enjoy one of the other amazing activities life has to offer in the meantime!
What methods do you find useful to snap out of a slump?
Good luck and, as always, HAPPY reading!