I feel like there is no reader on the planet who is 100% consistently reading all the time – this year alone, I’ve had a couple of months where I’ve read 5 or 6 books and months where I’ve read one… or less.
(yes, some readers get through 30+ books a month and honestly, I can’t fathom reading that quickly/having that much free time – we work to our own goals! Comparison is the thief of joy, etc etc)
Though I still can’t pinpoint the exact reason why I fell into this slump, I’m 90% sure it was conveniently parallel to a severe drop in my mental health that saw me lose interest in literally everything that ever brought me joy, so rather than beat myself up about not reading enough (I was beating myself up about literally every other aspect of my life anyway), I just rode the wave. I didn’t want to read before bed – I’d play silly phone games with my partner, I’d do some creative writing or I’d just watch YouTube and fall asleep.
To then go into the following month with an unexpectedly lonely birthday, a change in mental health medication, suddenly finding myself jobless and still experiencing the worst depression I’ve ever felt, I didn’t have the energy to read!
What it took, was picking up a contemporary romance (my favourite genre) that I’ve been desperate to read for weeks and taking it to read by the sea when I highjacked my partner’s work trip for free transport to Brighton – after a long day of walking miles and miles and giving myself disgusting blisters, I sat on a bench on the sea front outside our hotel, watched the sunset, and started the book I would then become obsessed with and finish only six days later (which, for context, is fast for me).
Then I tumbled into reading the Heartstopper novella ‘Nick and Charlie’ (because my sibling loaned it to me while I was visiting them in Bournemouth, so I had a limited time to read it!) and finished it in 24 hours, all of which reignited my love for reading and I got back on track with what I’m meant to be reading.
I’m currently working through the middle-grade/YA Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz and ‘Point Blanc’ was actually brilliant – I rated it 4 stars, I thought it was clever, fast paced and actually funny (not in a ‘funny if I was 14’ way). And I finished it in six days as well! Bringing my total for October so far to 3 books and I’m back on track for my yearly goal of 36 books!
So here are my three tips for getting out of a reading slump, that I will inevitably ignore myself next time I’m in a reading slump:
One – take the pressure off – forcing yourself to read isn’t going to be fun and reading should be a relaxing escape. If your reading time is in the evening and you’re not feeling it, do something else. If your reading time is audiobooks while you’re driving and you want to listen to music instead, you jam away my friend. If you feel like you should be reading more than you want to read, do what you can to separate the obligation from something that should be a nice hobby.
Two – choose something that makes you excited to read again – I’ve recently started a tbr jar and whilst I was excited about it at first, it does mean I don’t always want to read what I pull out. So choosing ‘Love on the Brain’ as a book I was so excited to get stuck into, in my favourite genre, in an engaging, easy to read writing style was perfect for me because it made me excited to read again!
Three – if you do want to ‘kick-start’ your reading habit again, try and make a thing out of it (stay with me) – I carried my book round Brighton all day because I wanted to read by the beach while the sunset. This was two fold in that I was setting up the loveliest reading environment to start a new book and if I didn’t read, it would have been a waste of carrying it round all day. Not sure if it’s the healthiest way to look at it, but it works on my brain so I’m rolling with it!
The crux of it all is that life happens and it has a really great habit of getting in the way of the things that make us happy sometimes, but there is always a way back.