Uh oh. You’re probably reading this blog post for one of a few reasons.
A) You’re in a reading slump right now. Sorry about that.
B) You’ve been in a reading slump before. Glad you made it out.
C) You can feel one creeping over you. It’s coming. Slow. Eerie. Dreaded. And you don’t know how to stop it.
Well, you’ve come to the right place. I’m going to give you some tips on how to climb out of that horrible reading slump. Coming from someone who was in a DEEP reading slump for over two years, I think I can help.
Reading slumps can be more dramatic for different people. If you read for fun, a book here and there, it’s probably not going to be as saddening. For others who read for passion, to reach goals, to review authors’ books, for blogging, it can have a much worse effect. We pick up a book, we can’t do it, we go round in circles, we read paragraphs 1892 times and don’t remember anything, we sit down with a book and end up scrolling through our phone for half an hour.
Well, fear no more. Because I’ve got the rope to pull you out. Just hold on to the other end and trust me.
TIP NUMBER ONE: START AFRESH.
Have you started a few different books to try and find one to get out your reading slump? Are you halfway through a book that you can’t face right now? Are you staring at five different books wondering which one will help you, save you, pull you out? Are you holding polls, seeking advice, talking about your slump more than doing something about your slump?
By that I mean put all the books you’ve started back onto your shelf. Delete them from your ‘currently reading’ section on Goodreads. Halfway through a book? Do the same thing. Stop. Forget everything you’ve read. Put it back on the shelf. Mark it as ‘to-read’ on Goodreads. Just stop everything you’re currently reading. Start afresh. Clean the slate.
There’s nothing more annoying than having a few books you’re not feeling on the go. I know, I did it last year. I was reading Flame in the Mist at the same time as Goblet of Fire, neither of which I was enjoying. Over that, I was reading books I really enjoyed until I hit Anne of Green Gables and suddenly I was in the middle of three books I didn’t like. I should have taken my own advice and stopped and started again. Instead, I kept going and it took me three months to finish three books. It was a total waste of time.
So stop. Put them away. Forget what you’ve read. Take a day out. Tidy your room, tidy your mind, and move onto step two.
TIP NUMBER TWO: STOP AND THINK.
Now that you have nothing to worry about, your space is tidy and the books are back on your shelf, it’s time to wonder. It’s time to stop and think.
What’s going on? What’s stopping you from getting involved in a book? Are you going through something right now that is making reading really frustrating? Are you too busy to read? Are you going through a breakup and can’t bear to read romance? Are you skeptical about all those plot twists in a thriller book and it’s driving you up the wall? What? Is? Going? On?
Figure it out. Stop and think. What book do you know, deep in your gut, that isn’t going to help you right now? Write a list. Write down pros and cons of a certain genre. What is longer, the list of pros or cons? If it’s the cons, leave that genre for a while. It won’t help you.
Once you’ve figured out what avenue you shoudn’t walk down, maybe even with the help of some friends, shut the door on that street. Show some tough love and try something new.
Maybe, as earlier mentioned, you are going through something really hard and your mind can’t focus on fiction. Fiction takes a lot of energy and imagination, something that isn’t always present. Maybe nonfiction, a memoir or self-help book relating to the topic you’re dealing with is the best thing for you right now. If so, check out the genres on Goodreads and find the most popular books in that area.
TIP NUMBER THREE: READ REVIEWS.
So, maybe you’ve figured out what kind of book you need to pick up. Well done! You’re almost there.
Whether it’s contemporary, fantasy, self-help, a memoir, a picture book, middle grade, or LGBTQ+ fiction, please. read. reviews.
There’s nothing a bigger waste of time than being like, ‘Right! Okay! It’s horror I need. I know that’s what I’m in the mood for,’ before confidently walking into a bookshop, picking one with the prettiest cover, taking it home only to get stuck at page 10 because it’s not a good book. Later, you might look on Goodreads and find it only has 2.5 stars.
When I’m in a reading slump and not vibing with any books, I go on Goodreads, search a book I’m somewhat interested in and read reviews. If I’ve previously read a bunch of books I didn’t like and this next one only has 3.5 stars, I don’t touch it. I will later but not yet.
Try and pick up books that have a rating of 4 stars or higher and are liked by people you follow and have previously trusted in terms of their reviews. Life’s too short to waste it reading bad books! Treat yourself to a well-recieved novel.
TIP NUMBER FOUR: STICK TO THE BOOK AND SET A READING SCHEDULE.
So you’ve picked a book. You might have even started it and liked what you’ve read so far. But your previous reading slump culture has thrown you into some other habits. It happens. Maybe you’re used to coming home and watching Netflix (or Love Island) instead of reading, something you know you should be doing.
So now it’s time to break habits. Ah. Scary.
What I did this year is set myself a daily reading goal. Maybe you work better with daily reading time. What I have done, though, is take the total number of pages in a book and divide it by seven. For example, if the book has 400 pages, dividing that by 7 means if I read 57 pages a day, I’ll finish the book within a week. And then, no matter what anyone says, I’m no longer in a reading slump because I finished a book!
I can’t encourage this method enough. It has really kept me on the path to completing 52 books this year. I’m on track and we’re 7 months into the year. I haven’t slipped up yet! Being strict with yourself will get you through books quicker meaning that reading slump has got nothing on you because you are in control.
TIP NUMBER FIVE: ENJOY YOUR BOOKS.
I think as book bloggers and bookstagrammers, there’s a lot of pressure to read what other people are reading, to read the books we get in subscription boxes, books that authors send us but once you get down that rabbit hole, it’s very difficult to find your way back out. I would encourage you to be strict and vigilant about what books you agree to read and review, which boxes you buy and which books you put on front of your lap if you have that niggling feeling in your gut that you won’t enjoy it. For me, that’s very difficult because I have books that have been on my shelf for over 10 years that I want to get round to even though I no longer have a burning interest in them. I want to get to a stage very soon where I buy a book and read it within that year while it’s still relevant to me rather than waiting years and years and years. It’s definitely a downfall of mine! But even though I can’t say I always pick up books I know I’ll enjoy, I do want to encourage you to do it.
Anyway, thank you for reading and I hope this has helped you climb out of that reading slump. If you have any tips, please leave them in a comment. Remember to sleep less & read more. And enjoy your books 😉