We’ve all been in a reading slump before. There are a ton of books on our shelves (virtual or physical) just screaming at us to read them. We want to read; we claim to be bookworms, but we just can’t drum up the desire to read a book. How can we get past it? To begin with, we need to know why are in a slump.
Why are we in a slump?
There are several reasons we could enter a phase where we just aren’t interested in reading. We could be depressed, stressed, burned out, or just out of habit.
Ask yourself: What in my life is causing me to avoid reading or not enjoy it?
For me, it’s been a combination of grief and stress. I’ve recently lost three people in death, become a caregiver, and moved to a new home on top of my other work obligations. While I want to read to escape reality, sometimes I just can’t get into a book.
What are some ways you can get yourself past the slump?
First, give yourself permission to read. Sometimes, when we’re stressed or busy, we neglect our mental health.
A study in 2009 reported that reading can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and feelings of psychological distress. A 2013 study conducted by Rush University Medical Center found that reading or other mental stimulating activities reduced the likelihood of developing dementia or other dementia-like diseases. And my favorite study showed that those who read at least three hours a week were twenty-three percent more likely to live longer than those who didn’t read at all.
If reading improves our mental and physical health, it should be a priority in our lives. Scheduling time to read is vital. Whether we read for work or for fun, we should prioritize it on our calendar. Consistency with anything is what helps us through the valley's of our lives.
How will you select a book if you’re just not feeling it?
This will depend on the type of reader you are.
The book blogger
It can be really difficult if you’re a book blogger in a slump. You will have bookish obligations and possibly working on a deadline. Author ARC teams can be rewarding, but they can also be difficult to maintain and keep your joy.
Remember, you can say no.
As an author, I love my ARC team, but I know not everyone can read fast and real-life things come up. I’d rather have a team member say “I may not get to your book” and opt out of that book rather than risk their mental health. If you already opted into an ARC team, just talk to the author and let them know you may be late with your review. A review later than planned is better than nothing at all.
Sometimes slumps can come on because we’ve obligated yourself to a book for “work” rather than fun. If this is the case for you (and you read fast) try reading outside your genre or a book for fun. One of the greatest things about this generation of authors and books is the rise of the short episodic stories. While you may not want to stop reading “obligation” books, these short fan fiction stories can help lift you out of your slump.
The voracious bookworms can get overwhelmed too. You just don’t feel like reading or your TBR is just too big, so you’ll buy new books.
With technology today it, the choices of what to read are many. Authors keep creating new books for everyone to read every day. How can you keep up?
I hate to say it, but you don’t have to read every book. Reading should be fun.
If you need a reboot, try revisiting an old favorite. This has helped me in the past. I’ve found it especially comforting when I am feeling sad or not feeling like “meeting” new people.
Sometimes the comfort that comes from the “old friends” of a familiar book can give you the energy to meet new book friends.
I will admit to being a mood reader. Sometimes I feel like traveling to other planets and other times I want to live in a fairytale world with modern plumbing. While sometimes I want to read those fun rom com novels with the meet cute romance.
It’s probably easier to circumvent the slump when you’re this type of reader. Just pick up something new read. Just avoid the obligation to read because it won't help you.
Just as it is easier to circumvent the reading slump, it's just as easy to get into one. Again consistency is key to any reading goal. Even if you're a mood reader, try to plan out your books. Perhaps you can pick five books a month, but not put them in order. Allow yourself read one you feel like out of that pile. Once you're done pick up another one until your book pile for the month is done.
If you just can't push yourself to read, take a break and leave any remaining books for the following month.
Reading Slump Tips:
Try a new genre If you’re in a reading slump, it could be because you’re feeling a bit bored with the books you’ve been reading. If you normally read sci-fi or fantasy fiction, try reading a mystery book, or vice versa. If you typically read romance, try reading a thriller or a sci-fi novel. By switching things up and trying something new, you might find that you’re excited to read again.
Set a reading goal: Sometimes all we need to get motivated is a goal to work towards. Set yourself a reading goal for the month, like reading a certain number of books or finishing a particular book you’ve been meaning to read for a while. Having a goal can help you focus on your reading and give you a sense of accomplishment when you reach it.
Join a book club: A book club can be a great way to get out of a reading slump. Not only do you have a community of people who share your love of reading, but you also have a built-in reading list and deadlines to keep you accountable. Plus, discussing the books with others can help you gain a new perspective and appreciation for the story.
Read in short bursts if you’re finding it hard to sit down and read for long periods of time: Set a timer for 15 or 20 minutes and read as much as you can in that time. By doing this a few times a day, you might find that you’re able to get through more books than you thought possible. You can also set it up by chapter breaks. The only danger is staying up too long.
Watch a television show or a movie: My go to series is Gilmore Girls. There is nothing like watching Rory sniff a book and enthusiastically talk about the endless book collections at the libraries of Yale that jump start my enthusiasm for reading.
Take a break If none of these tips are working, it might be time to take a break from reading altogether. Sometimes our brains just need a rest, and forcing yourself to read when you’re not feeling it can make things worse. Take a break and come back to reading when you’re feeling refreshed and ready to dive back in.
Whatever your reasons for reading, getting out of a reading slump can take a bit of effort, but it’s worth it to reignite your love of reading. Whether it’s trying a new genre, setting a goal, joining a book club, reading in short bursts, or taking a break, there are plenty of ways to get back into the reading groove. Just remember, reading should be fun, not a chore, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself and enjoy the journey.
These are just a few things I’ve found helpful. If you have a helpful tip, let me know in the comment section.
Here are a few book suggestions to help you get out of your reading slump:
The Reflection by Rachel R. Smith
An Heiress, an ancient prophecy, and a masquerade...
The night of the masquerade celebrating a thwarted assassination attempt on the Royal Family is swiftly approaching, and this year Nerissa has a plan. Ever since she was named Heiress of Chiyo, she has wondered whether others liked her for who she is or for the title she holds. On this one night, she can be free of her royal role and enjoy the revelry in blissful anonymity. All she needs to do is feign illness, return to her room to change into a second costume she’s prepared in secret, and then slip back into the party unrecognized.
She doesn’t know that a warning of another assassination attempt is on its way to the capitol.
She doesn’t know that a prophecy, hidden away for centuries, has just been rediscovered—and the events it foretells are already in motion.
She doesn’t know that an ancient power, lost for so long that the memory of it has been forgotten by the ages, is about to reawaken.
She doesn’t know that the real masquerade is only beginning.
Reflection: The Stranger in the Mirror is Book 1 of 4 in the first story arc of the Records of the Ohanzee series, which is written in a serialized style with a story line that flows continuously between books.
***I will warn you that the first part of the series is complete, but the second half is not. I did message the author and she is working on completing her series soon.***
The Successful Author Mindset by Joanna Penn
Being a writer is not just about typing. It’s also about surviving the roller-coaster of the creative journey.
Self-doubt, fear of failure, the need for validation, perfectionism, writer’s block, comparisonitis, overwhelm, and much more. When you’re going through these things, it can feel like you’re alone. But actually, they are part of the creative process, and every author goes through them too.
This book collects the mindset issues that writers experience, that I have been through myself over the last decade, and that perhaps you will experience at different times on the creative journey.
Each small chapter tackles a possible issue and then offers an antidote, so that you can dip in and out over time. It includes excerpts from my own personal journals as well as quotes from well-known writers. I hope it helps you on the road to becoming a successful author.
***This one is my go to for author resets of my brain. It is geared towards authors, but really anyone in the bookish community can find gems to keep your head on straight. ***
Voice of Power (The Spoken Mage Book 1) by Melanie Cellier
In Elena's world words have power over life and death—but none more so than hers.
As the daughter of shopkeepers, Elena has always known that the mysteries of reading and writing are closed to her. Only the mageborn can risk harnessing the power unleashed from putting pen to paper. Until Elena discovers an impossible new ability and joins the elite ranks of the mages.
But with the kingdom at war, the authorities can't agree if Elena is an asset, or a threat they need to eliminate. Thrust into the unknown world of the Royal Academy without friends or experience, Elena will need all of her wits, strength, and new power to carve a place for herself.
Except as the attacks become more personal, wits and strength won't be enough. Elena will have to turn to new friends and an enigmatic prince to unlock the mysterious potential of her words and survive her first year as a trainee mage.
If you enjoy strong heroines, fantasy worlds, adventure, intrigue, and romance, then try the Spoken Mage series now!
***Melanie Cellier is one of my favorite authors. This series was so inventive, I want to live there and go to the Royal Academy.***
Mind Over Mood: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think by Dr. Greenberger and Dr. Padesky.
Discover simple yet powerful steps you can take to overcome emotional distress--and feel happier, calmer, and more confident. This life-changing book has already helped more than 1,200,000 readers use cognitive-behavioral therapy--one of today's most effective forms of psychotherapy--to conquer depression, anxiety, panic attacks, anger, guilt, shame, low self-esteem, eating disorders, substance abuse, and relationship problems. Revised and expanded to reflect significant scientific developments of the past 20 years, the second edition contains numerous new features: expanded content on anxiety; chapters on setting personal goals and maintaining progress; happiness rating scales; gratitude journals; innovative exercises focused on mindfulness, acceptance, and forgiveness; 25 new worksheets; and much more.
***This was recommended to me by a therapist. It's such a great book to help you conquer your anxiety.***
The Progenitor by Sara Wright
Peace was all Xendara desired, but her enemies hunger for her power. Princess Xendara is the heir to the throne, but her life is turned upside-down when a mysterious spaceship attacks. She learns her father had secrets. With his untimely demise, she must uncover them before her enemies remove her from power. In her quest to keep peace within the Six Systems, she discovers a power she didn’t know she had; a power that everyone is looking to exploit. With the help of her childhood friend Darijus, she unlocks long lost memories of her past, only to find his destiny is intertwined with her own. A prophecy guides her choices to the correct timeline. But can she trust a prophecy that foretells the death of a loved one? With the destiny of the Universe on the line, who she chooses to trust will divide a galaxy.
With powers her enemies aim to exploit, will she risk galactic war?
Sara Wright is a science fantasy author who loves to add dash of sweet romance to her books.
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Time Crystal by Sara Wright
The Progenitor Chronicles
Time Crystals are forbidden for a reason, but King Oren must use one to save a civilization.
King Oren’s only goal was to be a peaceful caretaker of the galaxy. But when a girl falls through a portal into his courtyard clutching a forbidden Time Crystal, his life changes.
With a cataclysmic event imminent, he must lead a group from his home system to the opposite side of the galaxy. Everyone looks to their seemingly immortal race for aid, but even with their elemental powers, they are far from perfect.
Armed with the Time Crystal, they seek to stop an exploding star from decimating an entire population. The problem is, he doesn’t know how to use the crystal. Even worse, he might die trying.
Will King Oren stop the star from exploding? Or will time unravel?
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