Getting stumped during a project is something that comes naturally to pretty much every writer. Not knowing what to do with the middle of your story, realizing the metaphor in your essay doesn’t make much sense, not being able to find the written word for your poem–it’s all textbook writer’s block. But what about when you’re stuck when it comes to the very thing meant to inspire your writing?
Reading slumps come around for a variety of reasons–maybe you’ve just finished the greatest book you’ve read in years, and nothing can compare. Maybe you’re swamped with required reading for school or work, and it feels like reading has had the joy sucked right out of it. Maybe your brain suddenly feels hardwired to only be able to scroll on your phone, and not pay attention to something as demanding as reading a book.
No matter the reason, not being able to get out of a reading slump is always frustrating. Don’t worry, though: there’s always a way out. Here are a few things you can do to try and get back into reading without it feeling like a chore.
Reread your favorites.
Sometimes when reading, it feels like nothing will ever live up to a past favorite book. Even if you’re set on clearing your TBR, it’s totally okay to go back and reread something you know you’ll enjoy. After all, you have a great source for knowing that book will be good–you! While this might put you a book or two (or five) off from reading new purchases, it’s better than not reading at all. So, if your current read just isn’t working for you right now, pick up one you loved and dive back into it.
Switch to an audiobook.
Sometimes reading slumps come from being busy, too. If you’re working a lot of hours, raising kids, have a lot of coursework, or are generally a busy person, stealing time to do something you love can feel like doing something wrong. Why am I reading when I could be doing work? Why am I reading when I need to have this in by the deadline? When you have a lot going on, reading can take a backseat. By the time you do get around to picking up a book, life can be too distracting to focus. If you’re a good double-tasker, or maybe have commutes or work-outs you normally spend listening to music or a podcast, try switching to an audiobook. You can listen while you clean, take a walk, get ready for bed, or drive to work. While you can pay for subscriptions to get audiobooks, there are also plenty available for free on YouTube, and Spotify Premium now includes a large number of audiobooks as well.
Read a graphic novel or novella.
There are so many ways to read–don’t limit yourself to full-length novels or collections if you’re finding you can’t get through them. Instead, try out a graphic novel or a novella. A shorter story, or one accompanied by pictures, will have you completing books at a faster pace. There’s always something both satisfying and bittersweet about finishing a good book, and doing that with a graphic novel or novella might be exactly the fuel you need to get out of your reading slump.
Ending up in a reading slump is almost inevitable, but that doesn’t mean it will last forever. Rereading a favorite, listening to audiobooks, and reading graphic novels or novellas are only some of the ways you might get out of the slump. The more practice you get doing it, the easier it will be–and you might find your own way, too.