For a reader, there are few things as frustrating as when you get in a reading slump. Surely, you know what I mean? When nothing grabs your attention enough to start reading it. Or, if you do start, everything falls a little flat and doesn’t keep you engaged. When you put it down, they aren’t pulling you back in after the interruption.
Right now, I’m in a major dry spell. I haven’t finished a book in nearly 4 months… and the ones I’ve started remain half-finished on my kindle or my nightstand. I don’t actually think it is anything with the books themselves. They’ve been ones with my favorite storylines, or from my favorite authors.
In the words of a recent Taylor Swift song — “It’s me! Hi, I’m the problem, it’s me.”
As an author, it’s more important ever to fill my creative well by reading good books. When I’m not, I know it is even harder to write my own stories!
But, I’ve been here before, so let me share some tips for walking through a reading slump that I’ve used, or my friends recommend.
- Set the mood. Reading doesn’t just have to be about the book. If you’re having trouble enjoying a book, try changing up the ambience. I know that reading in the bathtub is one of my favorite ways to relax. Last fall we bought a hot tub, so I haven’t been taking bubble baths to relax – I’ve been heading out to the hot tub with my husband. First on my list to break this slump is to escape to the bathtub with a book I’m looking forward to! You might try your favorite chair with a new candle and some rainstorm white noise playing in the background.
- Try audio. Sometimes a great narrator can suck you into a story in ways you don’t have the energy to yourself! You can listen in the car, doing housework, or laying in bed (or the bathtub!) I don’t listen to many audiobooks, but you can listen to many Contemporary Christian Romances for free on Youtube, include Hannah Jo Abbott, Liwen Ho, Catelyn Meadows, Jessie Gussman, or me!
- Reread an old favorite. Sometimes, reading something new takes energy we don’t have, and it’s a gamble whether the payoff will be there in a truly enjoyable read. But, just like watching reruns of old sitcoms we’ve seen a dozen times is still fun — so is re-reading a book we absolutely loved the first–or fifth–time. Fellow IR author Elizabeth Maddrey recommends picking up a book you loved before and re-reading it, something I definitely need to do more often.
- Find “a sure thing.” Whether it is an unread backlist title from an author who has never let you down, or a trope that always sucks you in — do a little digging to find something that you’re truly excited to dive into.
- Take a recommendation. My friend, Mandi Blake, recommended browsing your friends Goodreads shelves or a bookstagrammer in the genre and see what they loved and if it is enticing to you! Or — go old-school and ask your friends for their recent reads.
- Go genre-hopping. Sometimes, we just need a new flavor. So, if you usually read contemporary romances – maybe try a light historical. Or, maybe it’s time to pick up a suspense that gets your heart racing. While this blog is all about CCR, we can’t ignore that there are amazing books in tons of genres! I love to pick up political/CIA thrillers when I need a change of pace!
- Watch a movie. It might sound crazy, but watching a good movie can be a great way to kick your “Story Vacuum” back into gear. I recently had a girls’ night with a dear friend and watched Pride and Prejudice. It gave me all the romantic feels and reminded me why I love a good happy-ending. Even if I’d rather get it through a book than a movie.
- Take a break. While it probably seems strange for many of us who read voraciously, sometimes you just need permission to not read for a while. Especially if reading ever becomes something you “have to” do because you are a blogger, reviewer, author, or critique partner. Sometimes, you just need to step away so that the next time you dive into a fictional world, it is an exciting, fresh experience. The stress of knowing that you “should” be reading can sometimes be the biggest obstacle in actually doing it!
So – what do you think? Have you ever been in a reading slump? Any great advice for digging your way out? I’m still in the thick of it, so if you want to recommend your last AMAZING read, maybe it will be just the thing I need to break my slump…if I read it in the bathtub ;)