We’ve all lived in fear of it. And most of us have experienced this terror, perhaps more than once. It is poison to a reader’s mind.
I am, of course, referring to the dreaded reading slump.
It starts off quite harmlessly. You don’t even know what’s happening. You simply have a busy day, be it with work, school, or otherwise, and you find that you don’t have time to get in the usual couple chapters. Well, that’s okay, you think to yourself. I’ll just read them tomorrow.
Ah, the good old “I’ll just read them tomorrow”. It’s like the character in the horror movie that says, “What could go wrong?”, or, “What’s the worst that could happen?”. Or worse yet, “Things can’t get any worse”. I’ll just read them tomorrow is sometimes harmless, I grant you. But it can also start a downward spiral.
Soon, it’s been a few days since you’ve picked up a book, which isn’t too bad. But then a few days turns into a week, and then a month, and before you know it, it’s been a good four months since you’ve actually read for pleasure. You find yourself racking your brain, trying to figure out where it all went wrong.
And if someone asks you what you’ve been reading lately, there’s a good chance they’ll receive a look similar to this:
It isn’t as if you don’t enjoy reading. If you’re anything like me, reading is one of the few things you can always rely on. You can always find a new friend in a book. It’s hard to think of something that brings you so much joy, that makes you feel so fulfilled. So why don’t you just pick up a book and start reading?
I don’t know if there’s a scientific answer to this question. Maybe it’s as simple as habit. It becomes a habit not to read, and, like any habit, it’s hard to break out of it. You may look at your bookshelf, seeing tens of books that you have yet to read. But none of them are catching your eye. So you go out book shopping and come home with five new books. But by the time you’re home, you feel too tired to read, so you just pop on some Netflix instead.
And the cycle continues.
The real question is not why we get into a reading slump, because in all honesty, the reasons could be endless. The real question is how you get out of a reading slump.
Again, in truth, there are many answers, varying from person to person, scenario to scenario. But here are just a few suggestions of mine, and what I’ve found has worked in the past.
1) Pick up an old favourite. Maybe a book that you haven’t read in a few years, or maybe just a few months ago. You know you’re going to enjoy it, and chances are it will get you back into the habit of reading, and remind you why you love it so much.
2) Watch an adaptation. This is where Netflix could be your best friend. Watch a movie or show that was adapted from a book. If you love it, you’ll want to read what started it all. And you never know, you may get a new favourite show out of it too!
3) Give it time. Sometimes forcing yourself to read can be the worst thing to do. It may only make the slump worse. Try a couple pages, but if you feel miserable and bored reading them, maybe hold off for a bit. It may not be time yet.
4) Pick up a book randomly from your shelf, and just start reading. It may catch your eye, and before you know it, you’ll be fifty pages in and hooked. This doesn’t always work, but when it does, it’s like there was never a reading slump in the first place.
5) Get to that series you keep putting off. We all have it. The one that we know we’re going to enjoy, but we keep making excuses on why we shouldn’t read it, or why it isn’t the right time. There’s no time like the present! Put your phone down, turn your TV off, and start reading!
These are just a few of many answers to getting out of a reading slump. Every person is different, so don’t feel discouraged if these don’t work for you. There are tons of articles out there, so just keep searching! Before you know it, you’ll be just like Belle, here.
Sincerely, Fiction’s Mistress