Crazy times we’re living in, aren’t they? As if our world wasn’t overstressed and sending us safe into the escape of fictional worlds already, now we’re facing the uncertainty of a new virus pandemic, quarantine, and a multitude of other new stressors. And many of us are trying to find new ways to cope because the old ways aren’t always working.
Everyone I’ve spoken to (by phone and internet, of course, ha ha!) since this whole thing began has talked about how their anxiety, stress, and even depression symptoms have magnified in unprecedented and unexpected ways. I can certainly vouch for this in myself. One major change I’ve noticed is that I can’t immerse in fictional worlds the way I’ve always done. Books and authors who’ve long been my standbys now can’t hold my attention.
And I found I’m not alone in this issue. A lot of readers I’ve asked are experiencing the same frustration and changes in their reading patterns. Some can’t engage in the story. Some are reading slower. Some find a lack of interest. It’s not fun and throwing many of us for a loop!
So what do we do when life interferes with our favorite escape method? I have a few ideas for you.
- Find a new place to read. I know, options are limited. But maybe move outside. Sit on the balcony or patio or porch. An isolated spot under a tree somewhere.
- Read deeper. This one hasn’t worked for me, but it might for you. By this, I mean, find an author or subject that’s more intense, more suspenseful, or longer than your usual choices.
- Read lighter. ChickLit. Romantic comedy. Cheesy and predictable. Just find something lighthearted that’s guaranteed to make you laugh.
- Reader shorter. Basically, try novellas or short stories for awhile. This one’s been working for me. When I’m stressed or anxious, I need a quick one-sitting book.
- Give yourself permission to put the book down. It’s okay to put one book down and grab something different without finishing. It’s okay to put down half a dozen different books and read a chapter of each and rotate through them. You don’t HAVE to finish a book before choosing another. I’m saying this for you type A readers out there who need permission. *wink*
- Many of the ARCs can wait. Apologies to all of my author friends out there who have a book releasing soon and are depending on your ARC readers. I’m right there with you, having a new book out on May 12. But right now, knowing you’ve committed to reading a book for someone can place added pressure on a reader’s brain. That pressure of having to read certain books by certain dates can make reading even more difficult for an overstressed mind. On behalf of authors who love you and know we could NOT do this without you, I’m giving permission to set the ARC aside and read what YOU want to for a little bit. The stress will pass. You will faithfully come back to that ARC as soon as you can. Authors trust you with their ARCs knowing you take this responsibility seriously, but we’re readers too. We get it.
- Change up reading scripture. Even reading your Bible right now can be tough. I get it. Try changing translations for a bit—the Message and the Voice are pleasantly different.
- Take a book break. *gasp!* I know. It’s unfathomable. But sometimes, it’s necessary. Find an Inspy book turned movie and let your brain wander into a visual space. Go for more walks. Play with the kids. Pick up other hobbies you’ve set aside for too long. When you’ve decompressed, your love for literature will still be there.
I happen to know many of our Inpsy Romance authors have a variety of content to offer you in this uncertain season. There’s a great list here. A ton of us are offering additional free books and you’ll find many are pushing to release more rapidly for those who are fortunate to not be experiencing reading distress during quarantine. I hope and pray you’re doing well where you are, and that you’re handling things okay. I’d love to hear your thoughts if your reading has been impacted by stress or other emotional upheaval. What have you found helps?
Let’s leave with a GIVEAWAY today! I’d like to send an advance copy to one giveaway winner. My latest novel, Whatever Happens Next is up for pre-order and releases May 12th, but one commenter will be drawn at random for an advance release copy a whole month early!
She needs to stay. He has orders to go. They’ll have to trust God with whatever happens next.
Growing up in nowhere Oklahoma gave US Air Force vehicle maintainer TSgt Dyson what his momma calls itchy feet. His wanderlust has kept him from romantic entanglements for years, until the day an over-dramatic, strawberry-scented chatterbox slams into him and turns his world upside down.
Jenna Davis was a quintessential good girl, deeply rooted in her family and faith until one mistake three years ago changed everything. Unable to admit her failure, she goes through the motions watching everyone else live their dreams. But it’s hard to find her purpose when opening up to anyone—even God—feels impossible. Then she meets Dyson, who personifies the strong, silent type.
Dyson gets her to open up and begin dreaming again, rebuilding the trust she’s lost in men and especially in herself. But Dyson has something important to tell Jenna, and he knows it’ll be the end of everything they’ve built. After all, how can he ask her to leave everything and everyone behind when he can never stay?