If books are a significant part of your life, a reading slump is frustrating. I’ve been through two main types, and I want to briefly explain both.
READING SLUMP #1
This happens when you’re in a season of life in which you’re extremely busy. Perhaps you’re pursuing a new project or hobby. Maybe you just had a baby, started a new job, or are trying to get your degree. In this scenario, life sets automatic limits on how much free time you have. You might want to read, but have to admit it’s just not feasible right now. Or perhaps you don’t want to pick up a book during this time because your interest lies elsewhere.
READING SLUMP #2
The second type of reading slump is when you’re desperate to pick up and finish a book, but you can’t. You’ve got the time, the books, and a space to read, but you just can’t finish anything. This happens to me when I’m feeling especially stressed or overwhelmed. Sometimes I have tasks hanging over my head, and I can’t focus on a book until I meet my obligations. Other times, no book I start holds my interest, even if it’s by an author I usually adore. This is the most frustrating type of reading slump because it can seem ludicrous to have trouble doing something you love.
Today I want to offer seven tips to help you out of a reading slump. Share your own ideas in the comments below.
A reading slump probably isn’t the best time to start that 800-page novel you’ve owned since 2003. Instead, choose a book you can read quickly. Finishing something will leave you with a feeling of accomplishment, and you’ll want to keep that momentum going. Look for something around 200 pages or less. If you want some ideas, check out this Goodreads list.
If you aren’t into any of the books you’re trying, pick up a book you’ve already read. If you’re struggling to focus, it won’t matter as much since you already know the story. Plus, going back to a favorite is like seeing an old friend again. Sometimes it feels as if there’s pressure to read all the new and shiny books that have just come out, but there’s a place for your beloved classics.
This is usually my first choice when I want out of a reading slump. There’s nothing better than an exciting, plot-driven novel to hold your attention. I’ll always reach for a suspense or mystery book when I need something that’s nearly guaranteed to keep my attention. If you like those genres, take a look at five of my favorites.
If you mostly read print books, try an audiobook. If you stick to ebooks, try something in print. Mixing up how you read can breathe some new life into your reading. I’ve found that I can read multiple books at once if they’re in different formats. I prefer nonfiction on audio, something lighthearted or plot-driven on my Kindle, and fiction in physical form. Figure out a system that works for your tastes.
If you’re devoted to grisly mysteries, give horror a chance. If you like historical fiction, pick up a biography. If you’ve never read a graphic novel, give one a try next time you’re at the library. There are so many different kinds of books out there (like this one), so stepping outside your literary comfort zone might help you get over your slump. And thanks to libraries, you can try a wide variety of genres without spending anything.
Your reading slump might be worsened if you have no clue what to read next. If that’s the case, ask a librarian. (This might be shocking, but they like talking about books.) Listen to a podcast. Search for book lists online. Visit your local bookstore and see what’s new. I’m a subscriber to Book of the Month and Page 1 Books, so if your budget allows, services like that are a fun way to discover new titles.
Sometimes I’m tempted not to read if I know I only have time to get through a few pages. It can feel silly to spend just five or ten minutes reading, but those minutes add up pretty quickly. If you only read for ten minutes a day on a break at work, you’d have read for almost an hour by Friday. That’s significant! Those spare minutes count.
Have you experienced reading slumps? What are your tips for overcoming them?