No matter how much we wish and try to prevent it, reading slumps continue to sneak up on us and it feels like forever waiting for them to pass. Reading slumps can be the most disheartening times for a reader. And I wish I could say there was a simple solution. But it's a waiting game. Wait to be inspired. Wait for the spark that fills you with that desire to read and only read.
We don't always know why they appear, but they sure do love to stick around! Reading slumps can be somewhat liberating at first though. Gives us time to recognize the other interests that we sometimes put aside in order to read. But they also soon become intoxicating. That Netflix show you've been on for years now seems very appealing and you can't take part in anything else until you reach your goal of finally finishing said show. (This can take varying amounts of time...and can lead to even longer reading slumps depending on how much of the show you have to watch and if it sparks an interest in another show).
Turning to other addictive types of entertainment can be the worst thing to do in a reading slump. While it's okay to do at the beginning of a slump, it can easily become the reason why your reading slump won't end. Watching Netflix or YouTube (etc) comes to control your free time because it's easy and an almost mindless way to unwind unlike how reading takes some energy and willpower. The main difficulty in these kinds of reading slumps is remembering the purpose and your love for reading instead of always choosing the easy option of tv.
Reading slumps are quickly extended depending on your schedule. You can become busy and stressed and reading can become an afterthought, and usually not the first option to relax after a long day. Especially during the school year, it is easy to get out of reading because of class readings or loads of other homework, and choosing to read more after all that can sound unappealing. It can be difficult to find a good balance in schedules for work-related activities and time for our own interests. And it is easy to choose to watch a couple of episodes on Netflix before going to bed instead of reading at that time.
But I think we can all agree that the worst reading slumps are the ones that put us in the position where we believe there is nothing to read. Nothing is fitting or grasping our interest and, depending on how long you've been in the slump, we begin to stop trying to find something to read. This kind of slump is one of the scariest times for a reader. It makes us feel as though we are losing our love for reading and as if we'll never find that joy from a book again. It's incredibly frustrating, I'm sure you can agree?
I am lucky enough to find myself finally out of a 3-month long reading slump. And I'm lucky to know why it happened: the first few months of college, busy schedule, stress and took the easy option to relax for the longest time. Until recently I hadn't read a book for leisure since the beginning of August and that was eating me up inside. I brought about four books with me in the hopes I'd read more but never felt like reading after my heavy reading loads in classes and feeling tired at the end of the day. But I was also in the position where I felt like I couldn't find something I was interested enough in to feel intrigued to grab it during the day instead of watching another episode on Netflix. (Although I am proud to admit I finished three shows I had been watching for years).
And it took me reading something somewhat out of my "reading comfort zone" to spark my interest in leisure reading again! Over a very much needed fall break at home, I went to Barnes & Noble for the first time in surprisingly a long time -- I know that because I had 4 unused gift cards...that never happens! So, of course, I came out with a hand full of books, and even still have $3 left out of all the gift cards I used (perks of saving them up I guess -- take notes future-self). Among those books were a few plays. Normally I stick to reading novels and only read plays when they're required for a class. But my interest was sparked by my THEA 100 class when we had to read Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie and wanted to grab my own copy. While in that section I grabbed another one of his plays along with the book to the musical, Dear Evan Hansen.
I brought Dear Evan Hansen and Hank Green's debut novel, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, back to school with me. I'll keep this short and sweet and say I finished Dear Evan Hansen in two sittings. Something about it pulled me in from the beginning and I couldn't put it down (look out for another article specifically about it soon), and can now thank it for getting me out of my reading slump. And now I have even finished Hank Green's book. It's only been about a week back to school since fall break and I've already read more than I have in months.
So who knows what will fix reading slumps. Sometimes you just have to wait for the right story to present itself to you. It's honestly the worst because us readers are impatient for more stories. But reading slumps always manage to feel worth it somehow because getting out of them is so gratifying to be filled again with this eagerness to soak up as much creativity as possible.
If you're in a reading slump now, my thoughts are with you! You've got this! Don't lose hope. Soon enough, people are going to be commenting again on how crazy it is that you read so much!
Halloween always makes us aware of our fears. Reading slumps like to play tricks on us, especially during times of the year when everything feels overwhelming, but the treat of intensely, reigniting our passion for reading is worth it.