It happens to us all at one point or another. That moment when you realise you’re just not into reading and have hit a wall. For most people it’s no big deal, but for book bloggers it can be a worrisome time. After all reading books is our reason for being, a core part of our identity. If we’re not reading then what do we do.
Towards the end of last year I descended into a reading slump, which to be honest has happened before. However, this time it was different as I’ve become more established as a reviewer. I felt like I really should be reading and reviewing as usual, but at the same time, I just didn’t have the energy.
Rather than beat myself up over the situation or even force myself to read something, I decided instead to lean into it. In doing so, I gave myself permission and space to rest my mind. And do you know what? My TBR list may have got longer but the world didn’t end. Most importantly, I had some much needed downtime, which I hadn’t been giving myself over the past year or so.
So for my first post of the year, I thought I’d share some tips on getting through that dreaded reading slump.
- Don’t sweat it
I can’t stress this enough, don’t sweat it! I’m of the opinion that the reading slump, much like the common is your body’s way of forcing you to take a break. Your brain can only take so much and it’s good to rest it now and then. Don’t feel like reading that bestseller everyone is talking about? Cool, do something else then, or read something else. Or do nothing. Whatever you decide, it’s ok. Just because you blog about reading and books doesn’t mean you have to be ‘on it’ 24-7. You are allowed to just not.
As I said, a lot of the times reading slumps are just due to your brain needing some time off. The last six months have incredibly busy for me professionally and personally. So not reading for me was actually kind of necessary in order for me to recharge. Admittedly it was unsettling to begin with, as reading is my way of both escaping from the world as well as relaxing, but I got used to it – and, dare I admit it, actually enjoyed it.
- Read low maintenance stuff
There are genres of books that are typically low maintenance in my view. For me romance novels or some fantasy books fit that category, and that’s not to say that these are somehow lesser than other genres. Just that I find most really easy to read without much thought or energy. You might have other genres that do the same for you. Or you might want to read a magazine, or something you wouldn’t normally read, or books you read when you were younger for that nostalgia hit. Whatever works for you.
- Listen to podcasts or audiobooks
I’m a big fan of podcasts as you’re pretty much guaranteed that someone is podcasting on a topic of interest, and it will be exactly what you need to hear. While I was avoiding my TBR list, I found my podcast listening increasing exponentially. As well as my usual favourites, I discovered the Villains podcast on Spotify, which is an fascinating deep dive into the psychology of famous literary villains, and their real life counterparts from Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men, to Don Correlone in The Godfather, this podcast makes for great if occasionally chilling listening. N.B. it has also added to my TBR list. Just saying. Not a podcast fan? Listen to an audiobook instead, and take your time. Listen to a chapter a day or every couple of days, so you can savour what you heard.
- Ease your way back in
Using tips 3 and 4 above as a starting point, ease your way back in to reading the books you want to read. Don’t force yourself to be ready if you are not ready. “But it’s a new year”, I hear you, but your mental health is important. Your love of reading will not leave you, it’s a part of who you are. Take the time to evaluate, why you do what you do and go from there. It maybe that you have to rethink some priorities. We blog about books because we love it, and it should never become a chore or stop being fun. When that happens, take a moment.
These are just some things that have helped me, which I hope you find useful too. Or you might have some other tips of your own. If so, please do share in the comments.