If you're an avid reader ,I can guess with almost certainty that at some point you've looked back on a time when you were younger, whether that be in elementary or middle school, and wonder how you read so much. I know for me, I can vividly remember hiding under the covers on my top bunk with a flashlight and a chapter book, reading way past bedtime.
I used to seek out the longest books I could find and read them in a few days. I used to read everyday and finish books, plural, in just a week, easily.
Even in high school, even though I had periods of time where I didn't read as much, I was still reading pretty regularly. As someone who wants to be a writer, reading is very important. And I do love it-- getting to travel to new worlds, meeting new people, getting invested in characters' lives and stories, its my favorite thing to do.
So why am I struggling so much now to pick up a book? If you've had this same problem, and you can't figure out why, let's take a journey together. There are a few different reasons you could be in a reading slump, and if we identify the problem, we can find the solution!
It's The Book, Not You
Sometimes a book doesn't connect with you and that's okay! Don't be too dedicated. Move on and come back later. I believe that we need to read or hear different stories at different times. At different points in our life, these stories will mean different things. If you just can't seem to connect with the book, maybe there is a reason. Maybe you can come back to it later and really connect with it. Maybe right now, you need a different story.
Personally, I find it helpful to sometimes switch genres completely. If I can't get into a fantasy adventure, maybe I'll try a romance or a sci-fi book. It really helps to jump into a completely new world. It also sometimes help to choose a book that is a different size. If you're reading a particularly long book, the size can sometimes be intimidating and lead to a lack of motivation. By choosing a shorter one, you can ease back into your reading routine before choosing a new book.
Sometimes it isn't the world or the size, but the characters. Personally, I've been stuck on this one book for a while because I just don't like enough of the characters. It is okay to move on--you wouldn't hang out with people you dislike, why would you spend time with fictional people you don't like?
It's You, Not The Book!
You may experience yourself in a reading slump when you have little time to read. You might also be lacking motivation. Try not to get distracted.
If you're busy with school, work, or other hobbies, you can still find time to read! If you're determined enough, you'll find time that you might usually spend on social media or watching television to pick up a book. Another great habit to get into is bring a book along with you wherever you go. How many times a day do you find yourself waiting for something, staring at your phone? You could be using that time to read!
There is also the problem of motivation. After a long day, staring at a screen is just easier. But if you really want to read, you will. It's all about making it a habit. It helps me to even set a goal of pages to read each day until I'm back into the routine of reading everyday. I also find it helpful to keep a list of books read each year. That way, it gives you a sense of accomplishment every time you finish one.
Once you gain control over time and motivation, you'll have no more excuses to not read!
It's You and The Book
Get it together. Pick something that will interest you. If not, you'll be left bored and with no motivation. Start small and simple!
If all else fails, you can always go to your friends for recommendations. Choosing a book that someone you know has already read and enjoyed not only ensures you will probably like it too, but it should motivate you to read it so that you can discuss it after!
Don't give up on a book too early, either. Read a few chapters, get to know the characters and the world before you decide you don't like it. Some writing styles take some getting used to, but you never know what might be your next favorite book!
Reading regularly is hard to do. We all have lives: working, being students, having social lives, and many other obligations. However, taking the time to do something you enjoy is excellent self care. Reading allows you to have time alone with yourself and a new world. It is a relaxing activity, great for your mind and your body. Doing something that is just for you is the ultimate form of self care. So pick up a book, turn on some music, find a comfy spot, and read!