Hi, it’s Sabrina and as you may know, I have been experiencing a reading slump for the last few months. I go through slumps every now and then, which I think is pretty normal, so I thought I could share with you today some of the signs that it’s time to stop forcing yourself to read and just have a break. I see a lot about trying to get back into reading after a lull, but not too much about simply embracing the slump – that’s what I’m encouraging you to do today, if you find yourself exhibiting any of the following symptoms!
1. You just don’t care and you can’t pinpoint why.
If you’re reading a book that you just know you should – or could – be enjoying, but you’re not emotionally connecting or you’re bored, there’s a good chance it’s not the book’s fault. If the book has tropes you love, interesting characters, pacing that you usually gel with and a writing style that has worked for you in the past but you’re still not feeling any emotions toward the book, it’s probably time for you to take a break and try doing something else for a day or two. Or longer! I have had this happen to me before, typically after reading a book that deeply affected me or experiencing something intense in my life. In this case, I would say the cause of the not-caring is burnout. If you’re looking for a quick-ish fix for this specifically, sometimes rereading a favourite book helps me reset and get back to reading like normal.
2. You’re starting to stress about all the books you’ve got to read.
For most of us, reading is a hobby – so it should be fun! If you’re starting to stress about the books you’ve got to read – whether that’s because they’re ARCs or have a library due date or for some other reason – it’s probably time to go against what your head is telling you and take a breather. Life is stressful enough without adding this to it! It’ll be better in the long run to go back to your books feeling refreshed, and it’s not the end of the world if you have to return a book before you’ve read it.
Can you tell this is mostly me speaking to myself?
3. You have to continually reread whole pages because your mind was wandering.
Do you ever find this happening to you? You’ve been sitting down, peacefully reading a book for who knows how long, when suddenly you realise you didn’t take in any meaning from the words your eyes passed over and you have to go over it all again? Yes, sometimes this is a sign of something else – it could be simply that you’re tired and need some sleep (in which case, you do still need a break), but sometimes it’s a sign that you have other things you’d rather be doing. And why not do those things instead?
4. You’re distracted by everything.
Sometimes I find any reason not to read, even while I’m tricking myself into thinking that’s what I’m doing. I’ll sit down, open my book, then immediately decide I need a glass of water. Or I need to let my dog outside for a bit. Or quickly* check Twitter. Or…anything else. Sometimes this is a sign that the book I’m reading is slow paced, but often it is my mind trying to tell me that I need to have a break and do something else for a while. Doing a little bit of exercise, such as simply going for a walk, can usually cure me from being constantly distracted, but when this doesn’t work, there’s no point forcing myself to “read” because in reality, I’m getting nothing done.
*Let’s be honest, it’s never “quickly”
5. You have picked up several books and only read a few pages before putting them down again.
I know I hate when I experience this sign of a slump – where I pick up book after book only to put them down after a few pages and immediately try something else instead. A lot of the time, this sort of poisons the books for me, because I mistakenly feel that they were boring or otherwise not good when it was just that I was struggling to read anything at the time – it’s usually pretty hard to tell from only a few pages whether a book is going to be boring or not. Sometimes it takes me an embarrassingly long time to realise “oh, it’s not you, it’s me,” and take a break.
What do you think?
Do you have reading slumps often? Have you noticed any of these signs before? Do you prefer to embrace the slump or power through? Let me know!