I just finished a huge, difficult read. I picked up another book and out of sheer relief was able to breeze through it. Then, I went to pick up another book and couldn’t get motivated, even though I’ve been wanting to read it for quite some time. I finally plopped myself down on the couch and got going. While the book was good, I just couldn’t seem to get into it. The next day, I tried again and kept getting distracted, people talking to me, my mom locking her keys in the car and needing me to rescue her, the allure of shopping and then a stop at the library. While at the library, I couldn’t seem to get motivated to pick out books! Unheard of! Then I knew, I had hit a serious reading slump.
I am lucky. These very rarely happen to me and when they do, they are usually easy to solve. I was curious if others had the same problem I did and did a bit of research. While most of these things weren’t new ideas, or are things that I typically do when I hit a slump, I figured that it would be a good idea to put together a list of things to try when you’ve hit a reading slump for others out there!
- New Book – If you don’t like the book you are reading, unless it is required reading, put that sucker down and pick up something else. Don’t push yourself through something you aren’t enjoying. The whole point of reading recreationally is to have fun after all. If you have to read it, reward yourself with a book you love at the same time.
- Reread a favorite book – Pick up something from your shelves that is guaranteed to get you lost between its pages and start reading. Getting into a familiar world where you know you are going to have fun gets your mind in the right place to enjoy reading again.
Read some fan-fiction – The whole point of fan-fiction is to entertain readers who didn’t quite like how something went in their favorite stories. These are usually shorter and all plot based. It is also a lot easier to abandon a story you don’t like. A good place to start is fanfiction.net where you can find stuff based on almost anything.
- Watch TV – Yes you read that right. Watch some TV. Let your brain veg and get your stories another way. Typically when I’m in a reading slump my go to shows are Doctor Who or The X-Files. Pick one of your favorite shows and just relax. Another idea is to pick a show that there are books for and then pick up the books from that show to get you back in the habit.
- Write something – This one may not be for everyone, but typically when I can’t stand reading, spending some serious time writing will solve the problem. I upload my brain with tons of stories when I read and then my head needs to download the ideas it absorbs. I can’t tell you how many times I have to put down the book I’m reading because I just had a fabulous idea come to mind (typically that has NOTHING to do with what I’m reading).
- Set a time/page limit – If you need to keep reading because let’s say, you write a book blog and need to have something for your readers to read about or you have to get it done for school, set yourself a limit of how much you have to get done that day. Don’t feel like you have to push through until you finish. Give yourself a good manageable goal. If you go beyond it – great!
Find a Reading Buddy (who reads at the same pace as you) – Find someone who likes to read the same things you do and read the same book together. They will help keep you motivated. I would NOT suggest doing this with someone who reads much faster or much slower than you do or you will feel frustrated.
- Audiobooks – Listen to a book you have been dying to read. For those of you who typically enjoy audiobooks, this a great way to make reading fresh. If you don’t enjoy audiobooks, it can be motivating in a different way. This one can work for me. I get listening to a book and then get frustrated with how slow the reader is or their voice and simply have to pick it up and actually read it.
- Organize your books– This one may sound a bit odd, but if you can’t seem to read your books, putting them in order is a great way to end up with a book in your hands that you simply have to get to. Just don’t leave the job half done and let your significant other find you with your books all over the chairs and you sitting on the floor reading away. It will not be a good experience. Trust me on this one.
- Read a new genre – Sometimes picking up a book in an area you don’t typically read is a great idea. Reading slumps are usually when I read non-fiction or mystery novels. They are a nice break from my normal choices and make me want to get back into what I enjoy reading more. My thought process tends to be, that was good but something sci-fi or fantasy would be even better!
- Read something short – When you are in a reading slump is not the time to pick up something over 400 pages. You’ll get frustrated and bored quickly. Books chosen during a slump should be short to create a sense of accomplishment.
- Read something you know you’ll love – Make your next book be something you know you’ll enjoy. When I don’t want to read, one trick is to put off anything else on my list and pick up some science fiction or fantasy by an author I love.
- Read Short Stories – Short stories can be extremely satisfying during a reading slump. They are typically extremely well written and are over quickly, giving that same sense of satisfaction as finishing a book brings without having to finish the book. Charles de Lint or Orson Scott Card are great for this.
Hopefully this gives you some ideas of what you can do to get out of a reading slump and get back to doing something you love.
Anything you do that I didn’t come up with? Please share it below!