hey everyone!

i’ll cut right to it. if you follow me on twitter, and have been for the past year or so (psst, follow me on twitter), you probably know about The Great Reading Slump Of Twenty-Eight Teen, which has now expanded to 2019 as well. i think at least half of my book related tweets has been about how blocked i am and how i have to force myself to read or haven’t finished a book in two months. i love exaggerating, tho, so it’s possible that it’s not quite half, more like a fourth. oh well.

not reading a whole lot has a very noticeable domino effect when it comes to blogging, which is understandable. what do i blog about, on a blog dedicated to books and reading, if i’ve only managed to finish maybe two out of the last ten books i picked up? i figured i’m not alone in this (i honestly feel like so many of the people i follow on twitter are actually in the exact same boat as me), so here are some helpful tips on how to, if not completely, at least start to shake that reading slump.

get rid of distractions

i get easily distracted while reading, especially if i’m not 100% engulfed by my book. and even if i am loving the book to pieces i can only focus on it for a little while before i start getting tempted by youtube or netflix. i’m pretty sure the only book i’ve managed to read in one sitting is binti by nnedi okorafor, and while i did love that one so much, i don’t think it’s a coincidence that that one book i read in one sitting is a 96 page novella.

my number one distraction is my laptop, that’s where i have netflix, the sims, and all of the internet. my phone can distract too, but only for so long. the small screen makes me not want to watch shows or surf for too long, so once i’ve gone through my twitter feed and used up my lives on love nikki i get bored. enter book stage left. when i live at home with my parents, which is the majority of the time, i have about an hour commute to work every day, meaning i spend two hours a day on a train. that’s when i do most of my reading. when i don’t have that commute, i simply have to put my laptop in another room and try not to leave my book and go get it after 15 minutes. i say simply, but to be honest i still suck at staying away.

audiobooks are a lifesaver

i don’t think i can tell you the times i’ve felt like giving up on a book, and switching to listening to it helped me finish it in mere hours instead of slowly trudging along for another two weeks. i feel like audiobooks are getting more and more popular, but they’re still looked down upon by a lot of people. like it doesn’t count as ““““““real”””””” reading. (which is ridiculous in my opinion. it doesn’t matter how you consume a book.) i know that audiobooks aren’t an option for everyone, they’re expensive and requires the reader to be able to take in and process audio for hours at a time, but they do wonders for me. i use storytel, so i don’t have to pay for each individual book, and when i listen to a book i can still do a lot of those things i’d otherwise get distracted by, like draw or play marvel’s future fight on my phone. i literally spent all of this past sunday listening to once ghosted, twice shy and can’t escape love by alyssa cole while building a beautiful house for my big vampire family in the sims 4.

motivate your reading

this one is tricky, at least for me. i’ve found that having an exterior thing that relies on me finishing a book can greatly help me when it comes to actually sitting down to read and then reading consistently for a longer period of time. it’s a dangerous line to walk, tho, because if i have the wrong thing as my goal or motivation it can easily start feeling like a chore instead. for obvious reasons, this is something i want to avoid. what things work as motivation can vary a lot from person to person, for example, having a set number of books i want to read in a year (like the goodreads challenge) just causes me stress. i didn’t set a goal this year, for the first time since probably 2012 or 2013. but i know a lot of people who this works for, and that’s great for them.

some things that help me are readathons, participating in blog tours, and buddy reading. these help for different reasons – readathons are like week(ish) long sprints and the community around them help me focus for that limited time, with blog tours i love the feeling that i’m helping promote a new book in a more “official” way, and buddy reading with a friend has its own kind of reward with the memory i’ll now have with that friend and how that book will now remind me of them.

give graphic novels a shot

this sort of ties into my previous tip, because one of the main thing with graphic novels that helps me get back into reading is that they are way quicker to finish. i know i literally just said that having a reading goal stresses me out, but it’s not as much making my number of read books bigger as it is making my number of unread books smaller. ticking books off my tbr one after another makes me feel very productive, and knowing that i can read several graphic novels in the same time it would take me to read one novel is a great motivator.

broaden your horizons

i used to hate this advise, and i’ve lately realised it’s because i got it from the wrong people or i took it in wrong, or a combination of the two. when i say broaden your horizons, i mean your age group and genre horizons. i used to exclusively read young adult literature, and pretty much only fantasy, with some sci-fi sprinkled in. then i expanded to include middle grade books, and slowly some contemporary. when i heard “you need to read other books too!”, “leave your comfort zone and read other genres!”, i used to think that meant i need to stop reading the ya fantasy books i loved and start reading… idk, catcher in the rye, the kill a mockingbird, lord of the flies. basically what i thought i was being told was that i had to start reading all these dusty old dudes whose books i had zero interest in. now, why i thought this was what i was being told probably had something to do with who was doing the telling, but i’m sure not everyone giving this advice meant it to be this extreme (like me! writing this right now! i am now one of the people giving this advice!).

what i actually mean when i say broaden your horizons is, every once in a while, try reading a book that you think sounds interesting, or that people you trust likes, but that isn’t one you usually would read. i’ve talked about this on here before, but not too long ago i gave adult romance a chance. it was a genre i’d never read, but that a lot of people i follow on twitter loves, and i’d been meaning to give it a try for a while. i ended up absolutely loving the book i picked (merry inkmas by talia hibbert). you don’t even have take make that big of a leap. maybe you’ve been reading a lot of contemporaries lately and you’re starting to feel a bit bored even though you like what you’re reading. switch over to books in some other genre that you know that you like, but that you haven’t read in a while. personally, i’ve realised that i’m kind over over heavier fantasy right now and instead i’ve been blowing through alyssa cole’s reluctant royals series.

learn to let go

lastly, my final piece of advice, is to be kind to yourself and don’t force it. i know it’s sometimes necessary to make yourself pick up a book even though there are other things you want to do too, but a lot of us has a tendency to over do it. if you’re not enjoying a book, learn to dnf it. i struggle with this a lot and i’m still working on getting used to putting a book down and making the conscious decision not to continue reading it. once you get that down and you’re able to just stop reading something you’re not feeling, i do think your reading experience will be better. i’ve realised that a lot of the time when reading has started feeling like a chore is when i’m forcing myself through a book i don’t actually like. life is too short and there are too many books, to spend time on ones i’m not enjoying.

so, there you have it! these are six things i’ve learned help me through a reading slump. don’t be deceived, tho, i’m not out of the slump yet so i imagine i still have lots to learn. i do think i’m starting to get more excited about reading again, so at least i’m doing something right.

have you struggled with reading slumps in the past? or maybe you’re in one right now? do you have any tips or tricks for getting out of it?

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