We’ve all felt it. That personal anguish we experience when there are so many books to read…but you just can’t bring yourself to pick even one of them up. I’m talking reading slumps, the greatest struggle that every bookworm faces. I’ve certainly been in a few myself, but fortunately, I’ve picked up some tips along the way that have helped me to ward off these dreaded slumps … and for all you bookworms out there, I thought I’d share these tips with you. So let’s get into it!
Tip #1. Change Genres!
Hands down, the most helpful tip I can give for beating off a reading slump is to switch up reading different genres. For example, if you’ve been reading a lot of fiction lately, switch it up and start reading some interesting nonfiction reads! …Or maybe a biography, or a poetry book. Whatever it is, it’ll provide your brain with a nice little break while also keeping it active and engaged by introducing it to something new.
Think about it: When you’re reading the same type of content over and over—whether that’s an epic high-fantasy novel or a contemporary romance—you’re going to eventually grow bored of the same settings, the same sort of plot lines, the same elements, over and over. Same thing happens with our brains for other things, too. When we’re exposed to repetition, our brains eventually lose interest and become less focused on that thing, whether or not we’re consciously aware of it.
It may not even just be a specific genre but a matter of ditching novels altogether. That’s why after a string of novels, I’ll sometimes balance it out by reading a few graphic novels in between as a light break. Fun fact: I’m actually doing this now and I’ve found it to be a huge help!
Tip #2. Space Out Your Reading Time More
I know, I know, this is hard. It’s just so tempting to cram every available space in your day with books, right down to squeezing in some quality reading time during your commute to school or work. But all this ends up doing is creating a whole lot of mental overload. And the more you try to fight it by pushing yourself to keep reading at any chance you get, the more likely that you’ll hit that “reading crash” further down the road. Bookish resolutions and expectations like the Goodreads yearly reading challenge don’t exactly help with this either.
But instead of trying to be some sort of bookworm superhuman, maybe take it down a notch. Try to make it a habit of spacing out enough time between when you read with other activities throughout the day. Don’t make it so much about finishing a book as quickly as possible and more about adding leisure back into your reading habits.
Tip #3. Tap Into Your Creative Side!
This sort of goes along with tip #2, but sometimes the best way to beat a reading slump is to take a break from reading now and then in favor of doing other activities. I personally prefer diving into creative projects, as I find creativity to be really stimulating and a nice, fun way to shift your mindset. For you, this can be writing, blogging, art, photography… whatever it is you’re most passionate about!
This doesn’t have to be limited strictly to creative activities, though, if that’s really not your thing. It can be hiking, going for a run, your favorite sport, horseback riding, or whatever else takes you to that space that is purely your own.
Tip #4. Add a Change of Scenery
I know this sounds too easy, but sometimes it can really make all the difference. When you’re in the same place for a long time, after a while it can make you feel a bit stir crazy and gradually lose motivation. The same thing can happen when you’re doing schoolwork in the same place for long periods of time. That’s why a common tip for studying or writing essays is to frequently move around and change your surroundings.
Transferring this to reading slumps, you can make it as simple as taking a day trip to your library or by sitting in your favorite local coffee shop for an afternoon. Getting outside of your home, or even outside of your ordinary everyday routine, will feel like a fun little outing, thus make you feel more stimulated and upbeat….thus putting you in a better mood to read. It’s a small step, but it could be just the change you need to get you out of your slump. So grab a good book and go somewhere new today!
Tip #5. Be Okay With The Occasional Reading Slump
This is perhaps the hardest thing for a bookworm to have to hear—to admit defeat to a reading slump—but it’s incredibly important to know. Sometimes life just happens. Certain things transpire in our lives that are completely out of our control—making ends meet, trying to find a job, stress from school, stress from work, complicated relationships with people close to us. It can often be a lot for us to handle, so much so that they get in the way of the things we once enjoyed. But when stress comes into our lives, it can also be a sign that we need to regroup and prioritize what’s really important.
If you’re finding that you can’t seem to focus on reading because your mind keeps going back to these other things that are going on in your life, maybe that’s your mind trying to tell you something. Listen to it. Don’t force reading a book if your head and your heart are somewhere else that you need to deal with. It’s perfectly okay to admit that. So if you need to start focusing on school, do it. If you need to spend some time finding that dream job or transitioning into that next phase in your life, do it. And hey, these books aren’t going anywhere! They’re still going to be there once you’ve taken care of what you needed to do.
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Well, those are all the tips I have for beating off those pesky reading slumps. I hope you’ve found some of these tips helpful! And if you’re currently in a reading slump, please be patient with yourself. It’ll eventually pass, and you will be back to reading again. Best of luck!