#TopTenTuesday: 10 Ways to Beat a Reading Slump

Posted August 21, 2018 in BOOKS / 10 Comments

10 Ways to Beat a Reading Slump
Badge for Top Ten Tuesday meme

It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme originally created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Every week there is a new topic or theme to base your top ten list on. You can find more details about it and see the list of topics here.

This week’s topic is ‘Books to Pull You Out of a Reading Slump’ but I decided to put my own twist on it and instead share with you ten ways to beat a reading slump.

What exactly is a reading slump?

Most book lovers will have experienced a reading slump at some point, they happen to the best of us. It’s like the reader’s equivalent of writer’s block-you want to read, but you just can’t. Maybe you don’t feel like picking up a book at all, or maybe you’ve started one but just can’t get into it.

Sometimes you can pinpoint the reason-you’re busy and exhausted, you’re feeling unwell, maybe you have a lot going on in your personal life. Other times there’s no obvious reason. Reading is just not bringing you the joy it normally does, and that can be a disconcerting feeling when loving books is a big part of your identity, especially when you are a book blogger with a blacklist of books to review!

Girl laying her head on a desk covered with books and tapping her fingers, looking bored.

So what can be done? Are you doomed to an empty, bookless life that ends with being crushed to death when your impossibly large TBR pile collapses, or is there some way to snap out of it? Luckily, reading slumps are very common for avid readers and they usually pass in time. But if you want to try speeding up the process, below are some suggestions of what you can do to beat the slump, or at least make yourself feel better about it!

10 ways to beat a reading slump

1) Embrace the slump

Wait, aren’t we supposed to be beating the slump, not giving in to it? Well, sometimes you actually need to accept the slump in order to get through it. A reading slump is often a sign that you are taking too much on and are feeling burnt-out. Pushing yourself to read more when you just don’t want to is likely going to make the problem worse, as you’ll start seeing it as a chore. Sometimes you just need to stop putting pressure on yourself and allow yourself some time off for the sake of your wellbeing.

You could give yourself a set break (one or two weeks, for example) and during that time, be kind to yourself and forget all about your reading goals. This slump won’t last forever, you might as well try to enjoy the extra time you have instead of beating yourself up about it.

2) Learn to say ‘No’

This goes hand-in-hand with number 1, but during a reading slump, it’s best not to put any extra pressure on yourself by accepting more books to review. It’s okay to politely decline review requests and you don’t even have to give a reason. Your time belongs to you and you’re not obligated to review books if you don’t feel like it.

If you’ve signed up for a blog tour, you could try contacting the organiser to see if you could postpone your slot. Most tour hosts are understanding because they’re readers too. If you have hard deadlines then you should honour them if you feel you can, but not if it compromises your mental health

Captain Picard from Star Trek saying 'This is too long, I decline to read it' and throwing a book into a forcefield.

3) Read something different

If you usually read contemporary, try picking up a fantasy or sci-fi for a change. If adult novels are your thing, why not give YA a go? If you always read paperbacks, then perhaps it’s time to see what audio-books are all about. Sometimes trying a different genre or form can reignite your love for reading. Novels aren’t the only things you can read-try graphic novels, magazines, comics, fanfiction, short stories, poetry, non-fiction, even children’s picture books. 

I’m having a bit of a reading slump myself at the moment, so I’ve been reading a lot of short stories instead of novels and I’m really enjoying them. 

4) Set small goals

If you feel you could handle a little reading, then set yourself a small goal of say 10 minutes reading a day and gradually build up to longer. This will make it seem less daunting and you’ll still be making progress in a way that’s manageable for you. 

5) Find a new reading spot

If you’re anything like me, you probably like to read curled up in bed or on the sofa. Sometimes, a change of scene is all you need to enjoy reading again. Why not take your book to the beach or a local park? Make a date with your book at a café or take it for a stroll through the woods. Light some candles and soak in the bath with a good romance (just be careful not to drop the book).

6) Read with a buddy

Reading is usually a solo activity, but buddy reading can be a great way to make reading more fun. You could pair up with a friend to read the same book and discuss your thoughts, join a book club, listen to an audio-book with a friend or try reading aloud to someone else. You might feel more enthusiastic about reading when you have someone to share it with.

7) Re-read old favourites

You don’t always have to be reading the latest ARCs or new releases. Re-reading old favourites like the Harry Potter series or The Chronicles of Narnia might help to remind you of what you love about reading.

Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice smiling at a book.

8) Watch book adaptations

If you don’t feel like reading, then why not try watching a movie adaptation of a book, or even a play? If you enjoy it you might be curious enough to pick up the book version later. Alternatively, you could try watching a film about a character who loves to read, like Matilda.

9) Read something you know you’ll love

Maybe the reason for your slump is that you’ve read a lot of books that you haven’t really enjoyed recently. Instead of picking up a book by an author you’ve never read before, try choosing something from one of your auto-buy authors that you’re almost guaranteed to enjoy, or ask for a recommendation from a friend who shares your tastes.

10) Do something different with your books 

Okay, you don’t want to read your books right now, so why not do something else with them? Handling physical books, appreciating their beauty and giving them a good sniff (it’s not just me who does that, right?) just might reawaken that bookworm within. You could reorganise your shelves by cover colour, arrange your books into beautiful insta-worthy displays or try stacking them to make book-spine poetry. If all else fails, simply build a fort from books and hide in there until the slump passes. 

Girl reading inside a book fort

Before you go…

Have you ever experienced a reading slump? What are your tips for getting out of it? Let me know in the comments!

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10 responses to “#TopTenTuesday: 10 Ways to Beat a Reading Slump

  1. these are great, I think #7 & 9 is the same, favorites are the books I love. & #10 – I don’t know about that but I do sometimes re-arrange my books just to see if there is a book I have forgotten about and might read it.

    have a lovely day.

  2. Great post! Reading slumps are the worst, and to be honest I feel like I was in one throughout 2016 and 2017 which makes sense because those were also two years when I had an incredibly stressful job. I think the best thing to do is just embrace it. Like you said, a lot of the time it’s just burn-out and you need to relax with Netflix or go out with your friends or even just go for a walk and get some fresh air. My go-to these days tends to be watching booktubers; I see them talking so enthusiastically about a book and that reignites my enthusiasm. When even that doesn’t work, I know I need to take a break and do something else.

  3. I have been on a reading slump for over a year now! It gets a bit frustrating but lately I switched genre and am slowly getting back into the reading game. Thanks for this post!

  4. Olivia Roach

    Saying ‘no’ is definitely something I learned and I am much more selective with what books I accept to read and review now. I LOVE to re-read old favourites when I am in a slump and it has pulled me out of slump after slump. I’ve never tried watching adaptions but I am sure that’s a good way to do things too. Oh, and sometimes (as I have a second language I don’t often read in.) I switch reading language!

    • Switching language is a great way to change things up, I didn’t think of that! I’m not really fluent in any other languages but I occasionally read children’s books in French. My friend had a version of Harry Potter that was in Latin! I imagine that made it feel even more magical.

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