I hope you are all alright. Reading slumps happen to me a lot, sometimes it lasts a week or less, but it can also last months. My longest one took most of my 2018 reading year and I felt so miserable afterwards that I didn’t want to read anymore. Thanks to Instagram and some lovely people, I got back to it and discovered such amazing books, and I am very glad I did not stop for good. It doesn’t mean I don’t get reading slumps anymore, but I now know how to recognize one, and how to deal with it.
Before we get started, you might notice it in the post, but I do have a strong opinion on reading slumps: for me, it should not be a problem. The creation of the word itself puts pressure on readers to keep on ingest always more and more books, by implying that not reading is something bad. Which is both unhealthy and stupid, because everyone is different and has their own life and own passion and own way of dealing with reality. Reading is supposed to be an enjoyment, not something you do because your friend does it, because you want views on social media, or because you think it makes you look somehow more serious. We read because we like it, because it eases our souls and makes reality easier because it is a passion or a way to help our mental health. When it starts to make it worse, there are some questions you should ask yourselves. I am, myself, trying to get out of those loops, of the mindset that not reading means reading slump and reading slumps mean a bad thing. This is why this article is more about asking yourself questions than solving any problem. Since, you know, I don’t believe not reading to be one.
How to recognize a reading slump
This is the part where you might all be like « bruh, isn’t it obvious? », and yes of course it is. But not having the time to read is something different from not wanting to. As I told you before, I work a lot for school, for my personal projects and to earn money (because surprisingly, being a book blogger does not pay the bills – what?), so I don’t always have the time to read. I used to feel so very bad about it, because I saw everyone around me reading one, two or three books a week as I was still struggling hard with my current one, after months reading it. Sure, it took some of my motivation away. But by this time, I was eighteen, a little stupid, and a little too Bookstagram-wired. Meaning, I thought I needed to read, otherwise, I wasn’t worth it. Worth what? I still don’t know, but it was how I used to feel.
But you see, I think reading slumps some times appear because of this constant pressure, the little voice in our head repeating you have to read, over and over again. So much that we even had to somehow invent a word to justify our feeling: reading slump. This I find kind of sad because not wanting to read should be normal, like not wanting to go out, or not wanting to watch a movie or whatever. But we won’t even say I am on a TV show slump, because it would not mean anything.
So yeah, recognizing a reading slump. Not so easy after all. Because how to know when you don’t have the time and when you truly can’t read for a particular reason? It is very important, in my mind, to know where the slump comes. Because once you have the rotten root, it is much easier to heal the plant (plant mom talking, beware). So, why can’t you read? Ask yourself the question, as I do all the time. Here are some tips I use depending on the source of the problem.
My little advices
You can’t read because you do not have the time – congratulations, you are not having a reading slump. You are just busy. And there is no need to force yourself to read, not at all. You will just end up being tired, both emotionally and physically (mind your eyes, those are important) and you might not like what you are reading as much as you should. My advice? Hang in there, you will reach a time when you’ll be less busy and you will be able to enjoy a book again.
You can’t read because you are tired – Unless the tired comes from the reading (in which case I strongly advise you to go see an eyes-doctor, it usually comes from there), this is also not a reading slump. As above, just take the time to do what you like, and if you really want to read but are too tired to do so, I would recommend you schedule little reading sessions, maybe. We are humans, and humans are easily distracted. Put me in a room with my phone, my computer, my DVDs, my music and some books, I wouldn’t even know what to do anymore. If you feel too tired, once again, please, do not force yourself to read. Because this can put you on a reading slump, which would suck.
You can’t read because you feel that everything you read is bad – Yes, this happened to me. I’ve reached a time when I was reading three books a week and everything felt not this good but I kept on reading anyway – because I was younger and more stupid. In this case, I always pick up one of my favourite books, and I re-read it. I take my time, it can take me weeks or months to go through it. But eventually, it always reminds me why I love to read and what place certain books take in my life. Some times, this type of feeling can also appear because you don’t even read books you would have picked up on your own anymore, but books everybody likes and talks about. But we all have different tastes, why don’t you try something fun then: go to a bookshop, and don’t even look at the books you see everywhere online. Instead, read the synopsis of books you’ve never heard of, you’ve never seen before. Who knows, you might discover your new favourite book this way, and recommend it everywhere.
You can’t read because you have a book hangover – To anyone new on the bookosphere, yes, there are such things as books hangovers. Incredible, right. This is that peculiar feeling you get after a really good book when you feel like nothing will feel this good anymore, and you might have read your favourite book of all time. We’ve all been there. It is both an amazing and horrible feeling, right? I do love it now, the sensation I discovered a gem that I will be able to re-read and that will feel like home again. After Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare, for example, I did not touch a book for months. Because my head got stuck in this story and I couldn’t even pick another one and enjoy it. Well, to be honest, I don’t have any solution for this kind of reading slump, apart from asking you this: what if you don’t read? Will the world end? Will your world end? I hope not. If you feel like it, my Instagram DMs are always opened to try to cheer you up. (yes, your mental health is important to me).
You can’t read and you don’t know why – my answer for this one is simple: just… Don’t? As I mentioned sooner, forcing yourself to read will most certainly not help. How many kids are forced to read mandatory books for school and end up hating to read afterwards? How is this any different? If you don’t feel like reading but you would rather watch a TV show instead? Well, just do. This is your life, and nobody – on social media, or else – is supposed to judge you for that. If you think that you are judged, it is not a problem of not reading or a problem of you being yourself, it is a problem of people being toxic as fork. Period.
Wow, this post got way more philosophical than I intended to. Not sorry about that. Because I do believe one should always put their needs and mental health first. I do love Bookstagram and the whole online book community, but it is some times way too much for me, too much pressure, too much judgement. When I realized that, it made me sad because people tend to people readers are more open-minded than other people (which I don’t have any opinion on), and this just proves otherwise. Please, enjoy your time on social media but if it gets too much for you, if you feel like it somehow does not serve your mental health, don’t be scared to take breaks. You won’t miss anything important, you won’t miss the release of the book of the year, you will just take time for yourself. In the end, it is all that matters.
- Do you have any advices on how to get out of a reading slump?
- What is your opinion on reading slump?
- On the online book community?
Spill the tea, people!
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