The Reading Slump: Causes & Cures


Reading Slump
/ˈrēdiNG sləmp/
noun
1. A period of time in which you have no motivation to read no matter how many books glare at you from your shelves.


There is no worse pain than being stuck in a reading slump. When all you see your growing TBR looming over you, but you just can’t turn open the cover.

It happens to me a lot, and being as I’m currently in one of my worst ones yet, instead of trying to read I thought I would talk about some of the common causes for reading slumps that I’ve noticed, and some cures that seem to work.

Naturally, if these worked perfectly I would never be in a reading slump, and I probably wouldn’t even be making this post, but maybe one of these tips could help you get back into the reading mood!


The Book Hangover

So, you just finished an amazing 5-star book that changed your life, and now nothing can compare. You, my friend, have a classic book hangover. You’re too busy thinking about that book you just put down to truly enjoy your next read. So you don’t read. And now you’re in a slump.

Cure: Don’t force it, or you may just hate whatever you read next. Instead, try rereading some old favorites. It keeps you productive, and in the reading habit, and you know for sure you’ll love what your reading. Hopefully, by the last page, you’ll be ready to start something completely new!


Boredom

Sometimes, a book just isn’t very excited. Whether it’s slow, predictable, or just not interesting to you, there are a lot of reasons why you may be bored with a book. Of course you don’t feel motivated to read when the book you’re reading is making you miserable.

Cures: First, are you sure you want to finish this book? If not, just stop reading and start something new. DNFing a book is totally okay! However, if you do need to get through it, there are ways. I know it may not be a popular choice, but if I’m bored in a book, I will open to a random page ahead of me, and see if anything interesting happens. Sometimes, seeing that it gets better, or that two characters have an interesting exchange, can get me motivated to read again! If that’s not for you, then sometimes just force yourself to get through another x number of pages, then pick up a book you’re excited about. If you reward yourself with a book you actually want to read, you’re both getting plenty of reading done, and getting through the book that’s holding you back! You could also reward yourself with something other than reading, like Netflix or your favorite snacks.


Book Burnout

Many people feel pressured to read a lot and to read constantly. I know I do. But sometimes, it takes a toll on you. The constant rotation of books can weigh heavily on your mind and after a period of reading countless books, you may feel burned out.

Cure: Let go of that pressure, even a little bit. Setting unrealistic or unhealthy goals for yourself will only hurt you in the long run. Give yourself a break to binge watch some shows, go down the Youtube rabbit hole, or play some video games. And when you’re ready to come back to reading, pick something you were really excited for. You may have lost the motivation to read, but if you remember that this book was your most anticipated release for the month, then give it a shot! You may find that excitement once more.

Related: Genre Burnout

I will go on binges of one genre (I’m looking at you, high fantasy), but eventually, I end up completely drained. Reading back to back heavy, dark, or mentally taxing books can easily cause a book burnout. But don’t worry, there’s a way to fix it, or to even prevent it.

Cure: Read a palette cleansing book. Find something lighthearted and easy to read, and jump in! Now, whenever I read dense historical novels or really dark fantasies, I have a fun and cute contemporary prepared for right after. The jump from genres can be refreshing and will have you more eager to read those long, heavy reads that glare at you from your TBR.


Intimidation

Speaking of TBR, I buy way more books than I could possibly ever read and even more come to my library that I’m dying to get my hands on. Admittedly, my book buying habits are a different problem, but I know I’m not the only one who gets intimidated by everything they have to read. Seeing your TBR grow every day makes it hard to work your way through it.

Cure: Pick up something not from your TBR. Ask a friend, bookseller, librarian, or even your friendly neighborhood book blogger for a recommendation, and get started on that. Reading books outside of my TBR may not seem productive, but when I’m done, I feel refreshed and energized, and ready to tackle that mountain of books!


Time Management

Life gets busy, and sometimes reading gets pushed aside. It happens to everyone. Whether your preparing for exams, stressed at work, or there’s something in your personal life that needs to be a priority, your current read may be forgotten. First, decide if now really is the time to focus on reading. Contrary to what we may tell ourselves, it’s okay if we aren’t reading ten books a month and over a hundred pages a day. Figure out your priorities, and if you do want to try to get back into reading, here’s what I typically do:

Cures: Try to read shorter, lighter books or novellas that are easy to jump into. Then, see if you can work out a specific time in your day to put aside to read. Even if it’s only five minutes, you will eventually make your way through your book!


Now, if you tried all of these, and nothing worked, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck in a miserable book-avoiding mood for the rest of your life. Reading slumps are just slumps. They’re temporary, and if you give it time, you’ll be back to your normal reading ways soon!

What is your go-to cure for a reading slump?


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5 thoughts on “The Reading Slump: Causes & Cures

  1. Mae Crowe says:

    All of these ring so very true! I especially have issues with I guess what would be a version of genre burnout??? Maybe??? If I read too many plot-heavy stories in a row, I make myself seek out something character-driven, something… Maybe not light-hearted, per se, but something more personal, certainly. It warms me to reading again, like the character is personally taking my hand and guiding me back to that love. If that makes sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    • caittjacobs says:

      Yeah that’s definitely a version of genre burnout! And that’s such a beautiful way of phrasing it— the character guiding you back. I also get burned out when I read to many plot heavy books, they can just be a little much sometimes (even though I love them!)

      Liked by 1 person

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