It seems that I stumble into reading ennui at least four or five times a year. I hate feeling disconnected from books and stories, but I’ve learned to accept these occasional lapses. Here are some ways that I (and other readers I know) get through the slumps:
1. Don’t Panic. – We all go through ups and downs in our reading and there are peaks and valleys in our interest and time commitments. When you find yourself in a reading funk it’s best to accept it as a normal part of the reading cycle and not as a permanent state. If you panic it might take you longer to get back into your routine.
2. Read something completely different from what you normally read. A few months ago I was desperate to break out of a slump and nothing was working. I tried and quit dozens of books and was at my wit’s end. The only way I was able to jump-start my reading again was to read a true crime novel about Jodi Arias which is completely out of my normal range of interests. After I finished it my brain was ready to read my usual fare again. Next time you find yourself in a slump why not try a western, a thriller, a romance, a horror novel – any genre you usually don’t read.
3. Try an old favorite. Now this option doesn’t work for me very well because I dislike re-reading, but many people find this to be a solution to the slump. It might help you to revisit a childhood favorite or a book you loved as a teen the next time you find yourself dissatisfied with your regular reading diet.
4. Make a list and stick to it. I find this strategy to be very effective, but I know it would drive some readers crazy. When my brain won’t focus and reading becomes a struggle I make a list of books I want to read and I don’t waver from it. I read the books in order and resist making substitutions – it has saved me time and again from falling into an extended funk.
5. Give in. If all else fails, give in. Watch TV, play games on your phone, play with your dog, rearrange your cupboards, bake a cake – do everything but read. Sometimes the more you try, the more frustrated you become so I’ve learned to just let it ride. Experience has taught me that I will eventually be ready to read again and I’ll get other things done in the meantime.
Tell me – what do you do to break out of a reading slump?