I love reading. I love books. But let’s face it! I have experienced reading slump every now and then. And I know, this is not uncommon for many readers out there! Life happens, sometimes, unexpectedly and we get stuck in a rut. However, if we don’t try to get out of it, it can take us forever to pick up a book again!
So, here are some tips that help me to overcome my reader’s block from time to time:
Nobody wants you to start George Eliot’s Middlemarch, which is around 800+ pages long when you are trying to combat your reader’s block. Start with something simple and light. It can be a short story, a novella or even a comic. The aim is to ease yourself into motion and then start from there.
Don’t force yourself through a book if it doesn’t interest you
This had been a problem for me for a long time. Being a completionist, I tend to force myself into reading something for the sake of finishing it. It can become stressful. It is okay to ditch a book midway if it does not hold your interest. Remember, reading should be an act of enjoyment and forcing yourself through a book is anything but that.
Start multiple books at once
I have been a one-book-at-a-time kind of person for most of my life. But, my stance on starting multiple books at once changed when I came across a blog post by Morgan Housel. In this article, he talks about his strategy of starting multiple books at once and the streamlining it as time goes by, only to finish a fewer number of books at the end. He insists on building a system where there are “lots of input and a strong filter.”
This particular argument makes sense as reading materials are abundant but life is too short to not provide time for the ones that can hold your interest. Ruthlessly cutting down the number of books based on your interest can only further the process and make the journey more enjoyable.
Re-read an old favourite
I am someone who doesn’t like watching or reading something again, unless necessary. However, if it’s close to my heart, yes, I will make an exception. When you don’t feel like the idea of starting a book is not compelling enough for you, opt for an old favourite of yours. Reading it will only spark the latent desire of reading books.
Try a different genre
All of us like some genres more than the other. There is no problem with that. However, reading one genre constantly can become a bit monotonous and encourage the onset of a reading slump. In that case, pick up a different genre and try it once. Chances are that the change of taste might help you get rid of your reader’s block.
Ditch the classics (if not interested)
Okay. I have to admit. This might sound hypocritical from my side, considering I am a Literature student and classics played a huge part in my curriculum. However, when it comes to reading for pleasure, it is always important to go for the ones that captivate you in the long run. While classics are lucrative, if they don’t interest you, then don’t be afraid to say no to them. If, however, they are of certain interest to you, then go on and give them a read!
Go for audiobooks
The first time I listened to an audiobook was in 2019. I know, I know. I waited too long. But, it was only because I was sceptical of audiobooks at first. I do not only enjoy books but also the mere act of reading. And audiobooks could not provide that for me. I was also sceptical of not being attentive about the content in a book. What if I needed to note something down? What if I am on the bus while listening to an audiobook and when I’d get off, there’d be a mere lapse of attention? However, it seemed that I was worried for nothing. Audiobooks are a great part of my life now. They help me multitask and still make me feel productive.
Set aside time to read
Sometimes, we get so caught up with our lives that our pleasures and enjoyment take the second place. I have been guilty of that too. According to me, the popular adage – “I do not have time” – is a bit misleading. Only a few months ago, I managed to see that this is not the truth (for me, it was this blog). It was more of an “I choose not to make time” kind of situation. And, I can guarantee you that most of the time, this applies to all. If we can just prioritise our reading habits for a bit and set aside a little bit of time, even if it’s 10 minutes a day, for a book, then it adds up in the long run.
Avoid looking into other people’s numbers
This is something else that I have struggled with, for a long time. Sure, watching other people achieve their goals of reading 100+ books can be pretty uplifting and inspiring. If that is something that helps you to read more and gain fulfilment, go for it. However, in my case, it was opposite. I can get pretty competitive and so for the last two years, setting reading challenges provided me more stress than motivation. So, I ended up saying no to any goals this year. If you are anything like me, you can try to do the same and see how it goes. Read for fun, not for the competition!
Just do it
After all the aforementioned tips, this is probably the most real of all. The others can be regarded as mere hacks to try and ease the journey of getting out of a reading slump. However, nothing can be overcome and/or achieved if one does not take any action. Most of the time, the reading slump is a prolonged effect due to the excuses we give to ourselves and that end up determining our inertia. However, to get out of it, one needs to resort to motion (basic first law of motion by Isaac Newton). Once we overcome the inertia and gain momentum, getting out of a reading slump becomes easier than ever!
(Photo by Lilly Rum on Unsplash)