Right now, I’m in a great place where I’m working my way through books quickly and happily, no slump in sight. Of course, sometimes bookish slumps can come seemingly out of nowhere, which is one of the many things that can plague me while I’m trying to fall asleep at night. This particular night, though, I began analyzing my own reading habits (whenever I can’t fall asleep, over-analyzing myself is something I do a lot – which is one of the reasons I can’t fall asleep, but that’s not important) and realizing that my slumps don’t really come out of nowhere.
I don’t know if this will help anyone else, but at least I can look back on this post and try to avoid slumps as much as possible in the future! Because I know there’s no way they’re going away forever, but I am going to try my best to stop them by using my own advice.
1. Always Have a “Good” Book
Most, if not all, people go into books at least wanting to like it, if not love it, and I’m no different. Of course, it’s pretty much impossible to love all books at all times, so chances are you’re going to run across at least a couple every once in a while that just aren’t interesting you. You might DNF them or force yourself to finish it, but if you’re anything like me, forcing yourself to finish reading a “meh” or worse book can really get me down. A lot of times, even if I turn to books I like more, it can really get me into a slump.
I’ve started to figure a way around this: always reading a safe bet, whether it’s a book I’m quite sure I’m going to like or one that’s a beloved book that I want to reread. For some reason, when I move on from a bad book, I have trouble getting into new stuff, but that doesn’t seem to be as much of a problem when I’m reading the two things simultaneously. If you’re a book monogamist, this might not work for you, but it’s seeming to work for me for now.
2. Don’t Get Guilty for Being Busy
Sometimes you have lots of other things going on, and you simply don’t have the time to read. Maybe you have something you really are interested in but just don’t have the time for it, or perhaps it only slightly catches your attention and you have trouble getting back to it when you could be doing something else. The point is, you shouldn’t feel guilty just because you don’t make reading your top priority for a few days or even a few weeks. I know I feel the guilt – oh no, what if I get behind on my challenges? What about all these library books I have checked out and waiting for me while plenty of people could be reading and enjoying them instead? I wish I had a trick to get around, but all I can really say is that you have to try your best not to feel the guilt, because it’s pointless and just trying to be mean to you for no reason.
3. Winnow Down Your TBR
I’m not talking about removing books from my Goodreads page or whatever simply because you aren’t reading as quickly as you’d like, but if you’re like me, you probably have a decent number of physical books waiting to be read once you finish whatever you’re working on (and struggling with, in the case of a bookish slump). It can be quite daunting – look, there are all these books I could and should be reading right now, but I’m not because I’m not done yet! Sometimes there’ll be books you want to read more, which definitely doesn’t help, but lots of times they’re books you want to read but don’t feel super-strong about. You’re neutral – they could go well or not, you simply have no expectations. So, you don’t have the excitement of getting to a book you’ve been wanting to read for forever – you simply have more obligation. When this happens to me, and it’s been a decent-sized slump, I tend to winnow the pile down. I return some books to the library, the ones I want to read but don’t feel super-excited about yet. This only works with library books, but if you own all the books in your to-read stack, then you probably don’t have library guilt to begin with.
4. Remember That Reading is a Hobby, No Matter How Much You Love It
If you take a long time to read a book, it’s not the end of the world. Even if you’re reading a book for school, it’s not the end of the world (I use Sparknotes way too much for formerly being a quasi-English major), but it’s even less of a big deal when you’re reading because you genuinely love to read and books and all that. So, if you’re not feeling it, don’t sweat it and don’t force it! I know, this is both the most obvious thing in the world and one of the most difficult to do, especially if you’re anything like me. We read because we love it, and it’s sad when we’re not enjoying that love in the moment, even if we know it won’t last.
So, let’s raise a glass to the times we’re on a major roll and pretend that the slumps never happen – and, if you refuse to stick your head in the sand like I would like to do at the moment, then feel free to see if my advice is any good or if I just spent the last 900+ words talking for no reason!