For the last few weeks, I’ve been in a horrible reading slump. I haven’t been able to focus on any books, and I’ve started a few books just to stop reading them the next day and not pick them back up. For awhile it felt like I was forcing myself to read just so I wouldn’t get behind on my Goodreads goal for the year, but I ended up changing books so much that I haven’t actually finished a book in weeks. Slowly but surely, I’m finding my way out of the slump by utilizing some tricks I’ve learned over the years that always seem to help when I’m feeling stuck. If you’re struggling to find the motivation to read or just can’t seem to focus or get pulled into any book, here are some of the tricks I use to make myself fall back in love with reading:
1. Reread one of your favorite books. This is my favorite way to get out of a slump. I love rereading and I have no shame about it. When I find myself getting bored, distracted, or just not in the mood to read anything, I revisit some of the books that remind me why I fell in love with reading in the first place. My go-to books are 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, anything by Neil Gaiman, Harry Potter, and The Great Gatsby, because these are the books and authors that make me fall in love with the power of language and storytelling. Think of some books that either inspired you to become a reader in the first place, or that changed or inspired you in some way. Chances are, if a book inspired you once, it can do it again.
2. Try a new genre. If you feel yourself getting bored with reading, or feel that you’re having to force yourself through books that you normally would find really interesting, it can help to try out a genre that you’ve either never read before or don’t often read. Recently, for example, I read some World War II historical fiction for a book club and I was completely surprised by how much I enjoyed it. In addition, it inspired me to look for more books that fall in that category. Even if you don’t fall in love with that new genre, trying something new every once in awhile is a good way to shake up your habits and keep things interesting.
3. Read short stories. Sometimes a novel just feels really overwhelming. Maybe you’ve just finished a long book and aren’t in the mood to start a new one just yet, or maybe you’re in the middle of a novel but find yourself making excuses not to read it. Short stories are perfect for when you want to read but don’t want to make a huge time commitment. You can take it a story at a time, or you can read through the entire short story collection in one go as if it were a novel. Either way, short stories can provide a welcome change in your reading life and can help you break out of your rut.
4. Listen to an audiobook. Sometimes I have a hard time focusing on actually reading words on a page, especially when I’m tired or drained from work. If you’re feeling distracted while reading, try listening to a book instead. You can do other things while you’re listening, such as take a walk, cook, clean, knit, draw, etc. that you can’t do while you’re reading a physical book, or you can simply lie down, close your eyes and listen (just try not to fall asleep– I always set an alarm just in case!).
5. Take a break. Have you tried all of these tricks and still can’t get out of your slump? It could just be time for you to take a break from reading and pursue some other hobbies. All the books you want to read will still be there when you’re ready for them.