I am notorious for being in a reading slump. I’m not sure why, but every few months my brain decides it has had enough imagination for the time being, and puts me off reading for a long period of time. It’s the most annoying thing in the world, if I’m being honest, because I love books. Not only do I love reading books, but I love talking about books. Nothing makes me happier than finding a new book to be obsessed with, and then sharing it with my close group of friends, it just brings me joy – which is why reading slumps are the absolute worst.
This year so far, I have read a very modest 42 books. 42 books which, in my opinion, is a very impressive number. In fact, I’m rather thrilled with it. It’s the most books I’ve read in the past few years, and I feel proud seeing the number there. In previous years, the numbers haven’t been as high. For example, in 2019 I read 21 books and in 2018 I read 23 books. Like I said, a major increase that I’m proud of. So what changed? This year, I have discovered what puts me in a reading slump, and I’ve learned how to avoid them. While I read some amazing books in 2018 and 2019 (looking at you, The Starless Sea), I seemed to be slumping every other week, which is why my reading numbers are so low*.
*I would like to take this time to say yes, it is very much a privilege to be able to read 21 books, or more. I acknowledge that 21 books for some people is all they want to achieve, and for that, I am very proud of you for reaching/trying to reach that goal! I know personally I get a lot of happiness from challenging myself to read a lot of books, which is why 21 and 23 in previous years are considered low for me. However, 21 and 23 books is still an impressive number, and if that’s all you read in a year too, then I’m proud of you for your achievement! I completely acknowledge that some people do not have the means to read many books, so whatever you read, how many you read, and however you read them, I hope they bring you happiness and joy as reading should!
I challenged myself in 2020 to overcome these times of slumps, and I have successfully done so! So I thought, why not share it with the lovely readers of teatimelit? Without further ado, here are 5 tips to get over a reading slump!
- Change up your genres. Ok, so this one seems obvious doesn’t it? Believe it or not, a big reason as to why I had consistent reading slumps in previous years was because I consumed only the same genre of book. And yeah, YA fantasy is great, but 10 books in a row of purely YA fantasy might be a bit much. Changing up the genres you read is a great way to branch out to find new books to love, and new authors to appreciate! My recommendation is to go in the complete opposite direction to what you previously read if you feel yourself slumping. For example, if I read a high fantasy, I wouldn’t go and read magical realism. I’d lean more towards a contemporary romance, or even a thriller! Changing up your reading habits can help you stay engaged and active in your reading, so I definitely recommend picking up a genre you don’t always gravitate towards.
- Consume bookish content. Who doesn’t love scrolling through bookstagram until you realise it’s 2am and you should’ve gone to bed 4 hours ago? Bookstagram is the perfect place to go when you’re looking for some inspiration and motivation to read. There are endless amounts of beautifully staged flatlays, funny reels and overall brilliant content waiting for you in the hashtags. Alternatively, if bookstagram isn’t your social media of choice, I also quite enjoy booktube. The book side of youtube is filled with wholesome reading content, funny reviews and challenges, as well as reading vlogs that will get you in the mood to binge read your next 7 book series. It’s the perfect place to get motivation, as well as being the perfect place to get you excited about reading again! All you have to do is fine the content that is right for you, and consume it to your heart’s content.
- Identify what’s stopping you. Admittedly, sometimes reading slumps just happen, and there’s no reason for it. Personally, mine occur around the times I have nothing else to do. Typically, this is the uni breaks and the days off I have work. Despite suddenly having free time to finally pick up a book, I find myself doing everything in my power to not do that. When this happens, I like to change up the format of what I’m reading. I love audiobooks, and I especially love that I can multitask while listening to them. So, when my brain wants to do everything but reading, I can plug my earphones in and trick it into consuming a book. It’s a super easy way to read while being productive too. Personally, I listen to my books at 2x speed, otherwise I don’t pay attention to them, but any speed that works for you is perfect!
- Give yourself a break. Sometimes, you just need a break from reading. There’s nothing wrong with that, and it certainly doesn’t make you less of a bookworm for doing so. But it’s inevitable, sometimes we just need to stop. Taking breaks from reading for a period of time means you can get back to being excited about reading, rather than it becoming a chore that you’re forcing yourself to do. As much as reading as much as you can sounds great, burning yourself out because of it isn’t ideal. If you’re someone who reads while working on other things, such as work tasks and schooling, increasing your chances of burn out due to overloading yourself isn’t great. If you feel you need it, take a few days to a week to even a month away from reading, there’s no shame in doing that!
- Remind yourself why you love reading. Sometimes, all it takes for me to get back reading during a long slump is simply reminding myself why I read in the first place. I love reading because it gives me a chance to escape to new worlds, and read about magic and adventure and all the other fun stuff we don’t get in reality. Do you love reading because it brings you closer to your friends? Do you love reading because it gives you a break from day-to-day life? Whatever it is, remind yourself of why you find joy in reading, and hopefully that little bit of inspiration will kickstart your desire to pick up another book.
And there we have it, Mary’s 5 step guide to getting out of a reading slump! Of course, not all of these tips will work and they’re very much designed around me and my reading slumps, but hopefully they offer some guidance and ideas as to what to do when you’re stuck in a slump. Do you have anything you do to get out of a reading slump? If so, leave it down below so fellow readers can get some more ideas for when they’re slumping!