Have you ever been in a reading slump? When reading novels is not involved in your daily routine, and you start to get annoyed at this process. As a ‘reading slump’ develops over a couple of weeks, you notice the absense of novels in your life. Sometimes it upsets you, or other times it just makes you feel awkward.
But what if it doesn’t have to be that way? What if you can leave the reading slump, and go back to engaging with literature? Here are some reading tips that have helped me. As with any advice article, some of these suggestions will work better than others.
Tip One: Understand and accept your limitations.
It’s a nice thought, that you can read whenever you want. But let’s be real: we have duties, jobs, school, other hobbies and events that we have to attend to. That’s nothing shameful, it’s part of being human. We all have commitments, and it would be irresponsible to disrupt them just to get out of a reading slump. When you are tired, you may not want to spend your spare time reading. I believe reading should be enriching, and it shouldn’t be about inflicting pain on yourself.
Accept that you can’t read as much as you’d like. Accept that there are going to be times where you don’t feel like reading. Even the best readers go through ‘reading slumps.’ It’s natural to not feel like reading all of the time. By acceptance, you can start to look for ways to integrate reading in your life.
That being said…
Tip Two: Understand how your job or studies impact on your reading habits.
I’m currently majoring in English at university. When I’m in the thick of study, I don’t seek out other books because I’m spending a significant portion of time reading for my classes. That means all the books I read during semester will be prescribed books. Likewise, if you are a proofreader, novel critic or editor you aren’t necessarily going to use your spare time for further reading. It’s a great thing for holidays and weekends, where you don’t have work and can read for pleasure. The best readers I know are people who don’t do it professionally. That may not be the truth for everyone, but it’s important to accept how your studies and work impact on your reading habits. Remind yourself that its not forever, and there are ways you can involve other forms of reading in your life.
Tip Three: Start with short novels
Reading Robert Jordan’s “Wheel Of Time” series may be on the bucket book reading list, but ask yourself: is that realistic? Maybe you should save the fantasy epic for another time, and stick to shorter books for now. To run the marathon, you need to prepare by running short distances. For me, reading shorter books of under 400 pages each made me feel that I was reading more. By reading short books, it’s easier to develop a habit of reading in a regular fashion. If you read 2 short books in one month instead of slogging through Ulysses for the fourth time, you can say ‘hey, I read 2 books.’ Part of the battle of doing something is convincing yourself that you can. You’ve got this.
Tip Four: Add variety.
After you finish reading a book, try one from a different genre, style or era. It’ll add variety within your reading habits, and you’ll constantly feel like you are reading something new. Literature spans multiple languages, times, eras and people. Of course, read what you like. But chances are, you will be surprised when you try something new. Make reading thrilling and unpredictable- and you’ll appreciate what drew you to books in the first place.
Tip Five: If the book sucks… ditch it.
What contributes to alot of people’s reading slumps is that they are reading a bad book, and feel pressure that they must finish it before they continue reading another book. This is bad, yet understandable. There’s alot of guilt in not finishing a book, but remember: a book should never convince you not to read other books. It’s hard, but put down the book that is boring you and pick up another one. You need to bring discipline to reading, and that means the ability to say no to certain books.
Reading is about pleasure, enriching the mind and the soul, reading is about excitement and making you think. To be frank, not all books will do that for you. And that’s fine! It’ll be boring if we all have the same taste. If you want to read another book, go ahead and do that.
Tip Six: Accept your reading style.
Yes, I’ve already talked about acceptance. But it’s an important point! Don’t think about reaching unrealistic goals or reading as much as others. You don’t need to. To get the most out of reading, sometimes you have to take it slow. Spending more time with a book can actually be quite rewarding, as you have more opportunities to think about it and ponder about what’s going to happen next. So not only should you accept your psychology and behaviour, but also your reading habits. Not everyone is meant to be an unstoppable superstar reader, and that’s okay!
What are your tips for getting out of a reading slump? Comment below!