14. October 2012 · 17 comments · Categories: Life

Hello, friends! I am in the midst of a massive writing block at the moment. I can’t seem to write about a book to save my life. I have a few books I want to tell you about, but every time I sit down to post about them my little brain just freezes right up. I think it’s a combination of anxiety and exhaustion. I usually write in the evenings, after work, and sometimes I have nothing left to give after working with the public all day. I am hoping this passes quickly, but I am prepared to force myself through it – sometimes that is the only strategy that works.

At the same time, I have hit a slump in my reading. For a few months I was reading one book after another with total and complete enjoyment, relishing every novel that I picked up and not regretting a page. Lately, I have struggled to finish a couple of books that I thought I would savor and have picked up half a dozen books that just fell flat. In the spring I started scheduling my reading. Do you do this? I tend to flit from book to book, starting many and finishing few, so I decided to impose order on my reading life and made a schedule of what I was going to read through December. This plan worked really well throughout the summer, but as the evenings are coming earlier and the weather is cooling down I tend to get sucked into tv shows (NCIS or Law & Order: SVU marathons get me every time) and can’t muster the enthusiasm for novels.

In desperation I’ve decided to abandon my reading schedule and go back to reading by whim. I’m going to let my mind give up the goals I had set for my fall reading and read whatever feels good at the moment. For now the Victorians feel right. They’ve been summoning me for a few weeks now and I am finally going to answer their call. I started The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins last night and have bought copies of Agnes Grey, Far From the Madding Crowd and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall to have on hand for this fall and winter.

I’m really loving The Moonstone so I think it was just what I needed to revive my reading life. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? Reading slumps? Do you have any strategies for dealing with them that you can share with us?

17 Comments

  1. Ah, another NCIS fan 🙂 I too get sucked into the marathons, like yesterday’s “undercover” set. Gibbs is my hero.

    I often get into reading slumps, which follow the same pattern as yours – trying book after book, none of which click. Sometimes I try re-reading then, especially old favorite children’s books (I can remember The Wind in the Willows breaking one long streak). I hate being disconnected from books, it feels so wrong!

    • It does feel wrong! I don’t like the feeling of not reading anything for several days in a row.
      Gibbs is awesome! I never get tired of watching him.

  2. That’s a good strategy. I’m also finding reading difficult at the moment, and attribute it to the season, and am finding both reading whatever I feel like reading and taking a break when it gets too much is working. Incidentally watching tv has worked too, maybe the difference in media helps? All the best for getting back to it, maybe put the writing reviews on the back burner for a bit or try a different way of writing them?

    • I think I have gotten so far behind in reviews, because I don’t feel like writing, that I can’t can’t remember much about the books now! I think I will do a post of mini-reviews to get back in the swing of things – maybe it will jump start my brain.

  3. I just read books which take my fancy at the time which I find easiest. I rarely give up on books and slog through them to the end, sometimes giving the front cover what I hope is a nasty look if they don’t come up to scratch. I’ll know it the next time I meet it.
    Working with the public can be great fun, we had some real characters in the library I worked in, but some people were just horrible. I was once called a Nazi because I objected to a man taking out more than double the number of books he was allowed!

    • Wow, Katrina, I’ve never been called a Nazi, but I have been called some lovely names by some of the high school kids I used to work with. There are really horrible, impatient, needy people who come in, but the majority of the patrons are just wonderful.
      I usually don’t finish a book if I don’t like it. I am forcing myself to finish a few right now, though, because I did like them to start with and then…something went wrong, I guess!

  4. Reading according to your whims is often the best thing for getting out of a slump. Have you read The Moonstone before? I love it!

    And I know what you mean about working with the public all day. I work as a teacher and sometimes in the evenings, I just don’t want to interact with anyone.

    • I thought I had read The Moonstone, but it is not sounding familiar to me, at all, so I don’t think I have! I am really adoring it!
      I can imagine that teaching would be incredibly draining – I really admire you for doing it!

  5. I’ve been feeling a bit the same lately and put it down to too many reading events that were dictating what I read. I think letting yourself forget schedules and goals and following the whims is the way to go.
    Love your Victorian choices and hope you enjoy!

    • Schedules are good sometimes, but my brain doesn’t do well with them for long periods! I love reading by whim – it is so freeing – and I am going to continue to do it through the fall & winter.

  6. Yes, I get into reading slumps as well. I tend to have several books going at once which can sometimes feel overwhelming, so my new year’s resolution this past year was to finish each book before beginning a new one. Well, that bright idea didn’t even last a month, and I’m back to having 6 or 7 books on my nightstand, all partially read and waiting for me to be in the mood for one or another of them! Sometimes when I can’t get into a good read I try listening to a book on cd while I wash dishes or iron or knit, and often that helps so I don’t have to actually sit still and devote my whole time to a book but I still get to “read” something good. But I’m sure the slump will end soon!
    Take care!
    Judy

    • I am the same way, Judy! I have at least 5 books going at one time and I just can’t give up that habit. My brain likes variety.
      I have tried to listen to audiobooks, but I can’t get into them. My mind wanders too much and I lose the gist of the story 🙁

  7. I completely understand what you’re going through! I have half a dozen books I’ve been meaning to post about for weeks and there’s still absolutely nothing new on my blog – I get home from school so tired out from teaching that I usually stumble to bed and fall asleep. And my guilty conscience won’t even let me sleep! Let’s hope it’s just a phase and that it will pass quickly…

  8. I think we all get reading slumps from time to time. I tend to get them when I’m stressed out or ill, where picking up a book is just too much brain power. So instead I end up watching television and films instead. I agree get rid of the schedule and go for what takes your fancy. In my slumps I always have a comfort read standing by.

  9. I can completely relate to your writing slump. I find it hits me the worst when I feel like I don’t have anything new or insightful to say about a book. Alternately, sometimes I just can’t bear the thought of spending more time at night staring at a computer screen after having already spent the entire day staring at one at work, so I turn away from my laptop in favor of actually reading a book. Those times happen more frequently than I’d like, so then the books I want to write about pile up, which leaves me feeling rushed and like I’m not writing anything insightful….so you see it’s a vicious cycle with me 🙂 I’ve tried to slow down my blogging just a little bit, take the pressure off of myself to post every day, and just try to remember to enjoy blogging.

  10. Yes, yes and yes! I didn’t read for about five years when my children were little! I wouldn’t set yourself any reading schedules or any pressure to post. Enjoy your favourite TV series and soon the desire to read will come back.

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