How to Beat a Reading Slump

According to the dictionary, the definition of irony is “a state of affairs that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often wryly amusing as a result.” If you look it up, you’ll find a picture of a bookworm in a reading slump. Has anything ever been more contradictory?!

It’s not a new phenomenon, but it’s one that’s poorly understood and often hard to combat.

“You’re stuck in a reading slump?” your non-bookish friend might say. “Why don’t you just read something?!” But it’s not that simple! Much like writer’s block makes a writer uninspired, reader’s block is the sudden appearance of a lack of desire to read anything. Telling someone to just read something to get over it is about as helpful as being told to cheer up when you’re in a bad mood.

So how do we get over a reading slump?

According to psychologist Paul Silvia, giving reader’s block a name makes it worse. Like a horror movie monster that becomes real when you think about it, giving a reading slump attention only makes it more real.

“Naming something gives it object power,” Silvia has said. “People can overthink themselves into deep dark corners.” Therefore, what you need to realise is that your reading slump is just a temporary situation, and not an underlying condition that will continue to affect you. Think of a slump as a common cold – annoying, but you know you’ll shake it pretty soon. You just have to ride it out until then.

In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to help!

Ask yourself why you’re reading

What makes you pick up a book? Is it because your friend keeps telling you that you’ve got to read this book she’s been raving about? Maybe it’s because you’ve got a Goodreads challenge and you don’t want to fall behind your target. Perhaps there’s a movie adaptation in cinemas that you want to read the book counterpart of before you see it.

These are all uninspiring reasons that take the joy out of reading! You have to read for you. Reading should be fun, not an obligation, a competition or a race. Remember the last time you read a book for you, and had that giddy feeling of not being able to put it down because you were so hooked. That’s what reading’s about. Remember that when you come to pick up a book, and don’t let it overface you!

Step out of your comfort zone

Betty Cooper Funko Pop Riverdale with tiny books

If you’re feeling uninspired or perhaps put off reading due to a disappointing book, try mixing it up a little. I usually read crime/thrillers or fantasy books, so when I need to shake a reading slump, I tend to go for a fluffy, contemporary style book that I wouldn’t normally give the time of day to. I recently read the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy, and despite me turning my nose up at it before, I flew through all three and the light-heartedness acted as a palette cleanser between books.

I always find light, fluffy books work well for this because you don’t have to give them 110% of your attention – if you zone out for a paragraph or two, you’ll catch up pretty easily. That’s why this series rescued me when Stephen King’s It became a monster not even King was expecting – a 1,138 page, 445,134 word brick that was so intense my attention started to waver and my will to read it started to unravel! It’s okay to stop and have a breather if you’re not feeling a book mid-way through.

Try something short

Sometimes, looking at a chunky book can overface you and make a slump worse. A big book to a bookworm in a slump is a bit like signing up for a marathon when you’ve only ever run for the train! Start small – try some novellas, or perhaps a book of poetry or comment. It’s a great way to learn back-stories for characters in books you like, or to envelope yourself in the world around a character. Coffee table books full of gorgeous photos can also be quick reads which set your creative cogs whirring and ready to try something bigger afterwards.

Reread something you love

Reading doesn’t always have to be about adding books to your library. Sometimes, all you need is an old favourite! Books that evoke a sense of nostalgia or throw me back to a happy time always kick me out of a slump – Harry Potter really is magic! 😉

Go shopping!

No matter how deep in the clutches of a slump you are, your bookworm instincts will find it hard not to feel a little bit like a kid in a candy store if you let loose in a book shop! Go into the store and let your instincts guide you – buying a new book could be just what you need to do to shake a slump.

Organise your TBR (to-be-read) pile

Tulips on top of sheets of book pagesIt’s likely that as an avid bookworm, you have hundreds of books sitting unread around your house. Why not go through them? You might find a book you forgot about that you really want to read, or come to terms with the fact you’re not going to read that book your friend recommended you three years ago. There’s no shame in having a clear-out; organised shelves can help clear a slump, as well as space for new books!

Buddy read

Picking up a book with a friend can inject some fun when you’re in a slump – set a chat time to discuss the chapter you’ve just read and let your enthusiasm come out! Chatting about plot twists or even just which characters you like can kick your brain back into reading gear.

Magazines and audio books

Reading doesn’t always have to be books. There’s so many other options! Try a magazine, some comment pieces online, or an audio book. Podcasts are great too, and there’s even theatrical ones available that are like movies for your ears! Thanks to the huge variety of formats we have available nowadays, reading doesn’t have to be physical, paper books.

 

What’s your number 1 tip for getting out of a reading slump? Leave me a comment below and let me know!

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16 Comments

  1. April 30, 2018 / 12:44 pm

    Hey, there! 🙂
    A great post. I usually use the “read something you love” method. For me it’s always Rick Riordan’s books because they make me laugh so much and I’m comfortable with them so they pick me up any time I’m slumping around.
    The thing with the “Not name your slump” is actually very interesting because apparently there is a technique to name your anxiety attacks so they feel like a person and not too overwhelming. Why not give a reading slump a name and trash talk it?

    Me: “You’ll never guess who’s resurfaced again…”
    Friend: “Flipping…Bill?”
    Me: “Flipping Bill.”

    Well, great post. I hope you have a great day! 😀
    LG, m

    • rhiannacampbell
      Author
      April 30, 2018 / 5:52 pm

      Thank you so much! 😘
      I still haven’t read any of his books, but I did buy Percy Jackson so I’ll have to get on with it! My equivalent is definitely Harry Potter ♥️
      Ah, yes, that’s a good point! It’s kind of like the whole thing where people say picture the people naked if you’re giving a speech and you won’t be as nervous 😂 darn Stan the Slump! I’ll create a little target board with an angry looking book on it 😂😂

  2. May 1, 2018 / 4:29 pm

    My tip would be to try reading a shorter book to get you back in the reading mood!

    • rhiannacampbell
      Author
      May 1, 2018 / 6:02 pm

      Such a good point! Sometimes big books can just overface you when you’re in a slump!

  3. May 1, 2018 / 7:58 pm

    Great post, Rhi! I honestly don’t know if I’ve never been in an actual reading slump. I mean, I must have, right? But I think I just refuse to accept it and power through reading anyway. 😂

    • rhiannacampbell
      Author
      May 1, 2018 / 8:26 pm

      Thanks Maraia! You are a superhuman reading machine though 😂 Haha, yes, maybe you’re just now stubborn when they strike 😂

  4. May 3, 2018 / 9:00 pm

    This was great, I’ve never heard this term before but I definitely think I’m in a reading slump right now! I’ll be trying a few of this tips over the next few weeks x

    Sophie
    http://www.glowsteady.co.uk

    • rhiannacampbell
      Author
      May 3, 2018 / 9:33 pm

      It’s a real thing, isn’t it?! Crazy! I hope they help! I’ve actually found (weirdly) that reading on the Kindle app on my phone helps! It seems less like you’re reading so it’s easier to get hooked and want to pick up another book!

  5. May 3, 2018 / 9:38 pm

    Great post! I’m really not a reader at all except when I’m on holiday, so I definitely need to get into it more and will use these tips to help! Xx

    • rhiannacampbell
      Author
      May 3, 2018 / 10:57 pm

      I know what you mean! I think when you’re on holiday, it’s easy to just relax and kick back with a book but there are definitely easy ways to read more day to day! ♥️xx

  6. Creative Nails
    May 3, 2018 / 10:27 pm

    This is a great post! I feel like I’m in one of these moments, haha. I never knew there was a term for it?! I have a few books next to my bed I want to read, and one I really want to finish but I can’t seem to get myself to do it! I’ll have to try out some of your tips 🙂 thanks for sharing!

    Amy,
    https://creativenails.uk

    • rhiannacampbell
      Author
      May 3, 2018 / 11:01 pm

      Thanks so much Amy! Yeah, me too! Well, I was – literally just shaken it! What I found helped the most was actually the Kindle app on my phone! Sometimes when I’m in a slump, picking up a book seems a bit daunting, but I’m always glued to my phone! So having that there to tune into a book was an easy way back in, and now I’m ready for physical books again! Haha! Gotta trick my brain sometimes 😂

  7. May 5, 2018 / 10:15 am

    These are all great tips! I often get stuck in a reading slump and forcing your self to read definitely makes it worse! xx

    • rhiannacampbell
      Author
      May 5, 2018 / 10:20 am

      Thanks Huda! And right?! It just puts you off! It’s a weird phenomenon that you want to read but can’t because your own brain also doesn’t want to 😂xx

    • rhiannacampbell
      Author
      May 5, 2018 / 5:04 pm

      Right?! It’s such an easy way to get yourself hooked in a book! They always make me feel summery as well 😂xxx

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