Described by Urban Dictionary as ‘a reader’s worst nightmare’, the reading slump has made many people cry in despair. For some, being unable to pick up a new book is a tragedy. I always found this reaction a bit exaggerated, even though I experienced a reading slump a few times. Yet here I am still, safe and sound. I think it’s OK to take a break from reading because it’s an opportunity to redirect your energy to other activities.
I want to point out that I’m talking about leisure reading here. If you have a pile of mandatory books to read for your exam or degree, grit your teeth and do the right thing. Your future self will be grateful, trust me!
Now, back to the subject at hand. My approach to reading slump is simple: if you don’t feel like it, don’t force it. You wouldn’t stuff your face with another course if you were already full, right? Likewise, you don’t have to start another book as soon as you finished the last one. Reading slump is your mind’s way of telling you it needs a break to process, to rest, or to concentrate on another field for a while.
My experience with Reading Slump
I have been reading since I learned my ABC and have always loved stories. Yet, when I was a university freshman, I didn’t touch a fiction book for half a year. I was too busy with all the changes in my life; I was too focused on textbooks and scientific articles to think about SF. I didn’t force myself to read, and I didn’t make a fuss about it. I was too busy living and exploring.
Then, one day, I just picked up Stephen King’s ‘Misery’ and devoured it. Then, ‘The Danish Girl and then another book and so on. I came back to this old hobby when I felt it was the right time, and everything has been fine since.
My point is that a reader isn’t somebody who exceeds their reading challenge goal on Goodreads. The reader finds pleasure in developing their knowledge, finding new ideas, and exploring fictive worlds. It’s a hobby, not an obligation. Therefore, nobody should feel guilty because they don’t feel like reading now and then.
OK, you’re in a Reading Slump. Now what?
The way I see it, you can use the situation to your benefit in many ways. We are forever changing and evolving. We crave stimulation and new experiences, and this is exactly what you might need! Here are a few handy suggestions:
1. Expand your reading list by trying out manga, comics, or graphic novels. There are amazing stories out there just waiting for you to discover them. Check out this list of manga titles worth reading!
2. You could also switch to reading articles about a subject you’re interested in. You can access them online, read them in one sitting, and you end up being more informed.
3. Support new writers. I didn’t give up reading altogether when I was in a reading slump. Apart from university papers, I switched to online platforms meant for amateur writers, such as Wattpad. It was great to discover talented people and to share my own stories with them. I used to read a few chapters a day on my commute, which was a great way to pass the time.
4. Gardening brings a lot of benefits both for your body and mind.
5. Likewise, playing sports will keep you active and will help you disconnect from daily problems. If you need some inspiration for your free time, check out this list of uplifting summer activities!
6. Maybe you don’t feel comfortable with a significant change in your routine right now, and that’s OK. If you value connection instead, catching up with your friends might be the answer for you. Who knows – if you spend more time with your loved ones, you might pick up one of their hobbies!
7. Ultimately, you can dedicate your free time to self-improvement. Turn your attention inwards. Maybe something is bothering you. Perhaps the last book you read stirred some old issues that might need exploring. Start the journey and see where it takes you! Journaling might help you as well.
A final word to the Bookstagrammers and Book B/Vloggers out there
It must be frustrating to be in a reading slump when reading is such a big part of your life. The audience waits for new reviews and content, but you’re letting them down.
Perhaps. But that doesn’t make you a bad person. My advice is to take care of yourself first. You can share with your audience that you struggle momentarily, and I’m sure dozens of people will sympathize with you. Have you ever thought of changing your content? Instead of speaking about a novel, try doing something book-related and see how it feels. Here’s a list you can use!
As an ending note, remember: reading slump can be a fantastic way to discover new activities and grow as a person. Even if it feels strange to not have a book with you at all times, your life, I can assure you that your reading habit will come back eventually.