How to Get Out of a Reading Slump
I may have mentioned once or twice, (a thousand) that I have just undergone a reading slump. Not the best thing to happen to a book blogger posting about books twice a week. This had been creeping up for a while when I read a couple of books that turned out to be disappointing. I ended up not reviewing them on the blog. I then seemed to fall into an attitude of meh! and could not get excited about reading.
Everywhere I look on social media, I see people talking about reading slumps. They may be voracious readers or people who read one book every couple of months. Sometimes we all get to that point of just not feeling it. But if reading has always been part of your life, or you are proud of the progress you have been making in your reading what do you do?
I've written some tips below to hopefully give you some inspiration. It's tricks that I used and I am happy to report I am out of my slump, thanks to a well-timed Sarah Morgan novel.
1, Duck and Roll
Be honest here, the book you are reading is it one you are enjoying? Is it a book by your most favourite author in the world? Or is it a book that you feel you 'should' read because everyone else is reading it or is getting a lot of buzz. If that word 'should' crops up when thinking about the book you are reading than Duck and Roll. In other words, put the book down and walk away.
If you really want to read it, then you can always come back to it at a different point in the future. But, and I am going to be controversial here, it is also okay to DNF (do not finish) if you are not enjoying it.
This leads to a different discussion about finishing books. For years, I was someone who ALWAYS finished a book, even if I was hating every word. It became a matter of principle. And then I realise that whilst the book may not be my cup of tea, it could be someone else's. So I could let it go, even if I was halfway through a chapter and send it off elsewhere to someone who would love it. Never feel guilty for not finishing a novel you are not enjoying. Life is far too short when you could be reading a book you love.
2, Read a Comfort Book
We all have those books or authors who are our favourites in time of need. These could be authors we turn to when things are not going well, or we just need a bit of taking care of. Imagine the cosiness of a warm blanket and a hot chocolate. For me, my comfort books are Miss Read and Agatha Christie. But if I need to bring in the big guns, it will be The Devil Wears Prada. So why not try reading one of your comfort authors if you are having a reading slump?
3, Listen to an audiobook
Audiobooks are enjoying a boom at the moment and are a great way to catch up with books if you are running short of time. If you can't face sitting down with your book, then why not try an audiobook instead? A number of companies have subscription services, or you could pick up a favourite title in a local bookshop Or even better, borrow one from your local library for free.
I was delighted to discover that one of my favourite Miss Read novels has been recorded by the actress who voices Linda Snell in The Archers. I can sit and do something else, whilst listening to her dulcet tones and I find it very relaxing.
4, Read a Children's Book
Do you remember what your favourite book was as a child? Well why not read it again? When I first started the blog I discovered the same edition available of The Magic Faraway Tree that I had read as a child. And goodness I was transported back to being 6 years old again. The book had a song in it, and I even remember the same tune I used to sing in my head when reading the book.
Reading evokes such memory and it is worth going back to where it all started and indulging in a bit of nostalgia.
5, Read a Magazine
I cannot sleep unless I read something just before I close my eyes for sleep. Even if I am dropping where I am standing, unless I read a page or two I will not sleep. Of course, during a reading slump the last thing I wanted to do was pick up a book. So I read a magazine. Why?
If I read a magazine, I'm still keeping my reading hand in, and even better the articles are usually short and snappy. So I can read it and move on. I usually find 2 or 3 nights of reading a magazine will bring me back to wanting to read a book again. So pick up your favourite magazine (mine is Prima) and enjoy!
6, Do Something Completely Different Instead
This was suggested by one of my Beartown Buddies over on Instagram. She explained that she will go for a walk, watch loads of old movies or paint and step away for a week or two. It's a great idea and you can have fun doing something completely different, something you also enjoy before coming back to reading. For me it is baking, usually cakes.
This one is going to be a bit controversial. The one thing I can guarantee to send me into a reading slump is if I am feeling overwhelmed by my To Be Read Pile. At the time of writing, I have just had a cull of books that were waiting to be read. The cull pile were made up of a mix of books on offer that I bought on a whim, books I thought I should read (that should word again) and books that I had completely changed my mind about.
These books can be let go. I donated mine to a local charity, but you could host a book swap, or even sell them. Just remember, someone else will love them.
My To Be Read Pile now feels much more manageable and I feel in control again and best of all, I'm getting round to reading the books I actually want to read.
8. DON'T PANIC!!
I used to work with a wonderful man, who when our jobs got busy or stressful used to scream in a loud, high pitched squawk 'DON'T PANIC!!!!!!!". This had the effect of instantly making EVERYONE Panic and it was at this point that everything would fall apart. Meanwhile, he would be walking around as if nothing had happened. So I say this to you in my gentlest voice. Don't Panic. You are not going to help yourself by stressing over this.
I am not a healthcare professional, but I would suggest just having a chat with yourself as to whether this might be an aspect of something a little bigger. Are you a bit down in general? Are you struggling to feel motivated or excited or indeed have dropped a few things that have brought enjoyment? If this is the case, please do speak to someone about this. It could be picking up the phone and speaking to a good friend, but don't be shy about speaking to a healthcare professional if you feel like you want a bit of additional support. They are pretty wonderful people.
Reading will always wait for you, it will always be there. And you will get back to it I promise.
I do hope that this post has helped a bit and given you some tips to help. I'm going to be back on Tuesday with a book that left me, well, feeling a bit dirty. Not in that way! But it is by another of my favourite authors. Have a great weekend. xxxx