I think most readers have endured a reading slump at one point in their lives. There are many factors that can cause a reading slump – some good and some bad. For instance, I had a major reading slump after my daughter was born. It took me almost a year to enjoy reading again.
I read a lot of reading-related articles, and recently there have been many talking about how people are either getting a lot of reading done, or are experiencing a reading slump right now. I have been falling somewhere in-between, leaning toward the slump side.
I went into working from home thinking I was going to get a lot done. And, I actually have. At least most days. Unfortunately, I also thought I was going to have lots of time to read, while simultaneously being able to make sure my daughter gets her distance learning done, and trying to do a bunch of enriching activities on top of that.
Looking back, my expectations were pretty unreal. I chose a really long book to read, thinking it would be no problem to knock it out in a couple of weeks. Toward the middle of the month I started to get a little panicky because I had only gotten one book read, and it was an audiobook.
Then, I received a notification that “Educated” by Tara Westover, which I had put on hold while doing a tutorial for this blog, was available. I contemplated letting the next person in line have it, but then decided it might be just what I needed. It was.
Looking back, I realize that not only were my expectations of myself unrealistic, I was making a slump out of a molehill. I had chosen a book that it wasn’t likely I was going to finish in a month, much less a couple of weeks – and that’s under normal circumstances. Sometimes I just don’t get much reading done during the work week, and that’s without the pressure of distance learning on top of it. I set myself up for a reading slump, or at least what I perceived to be one.
If you find yourself in a reading slump right now, here are a few things I’ve learned. First of all, it’s okay. It’s a difficult time and there is a lot of uncertainty. If you can’t concentrate on reading, don’t worry about it. You will get back to it when the time is right. If watching TV or playing games or doing puzzles is what’s keeping you sane right now, there’s no shame in that.
Second, the cure to a reading slump is usually finding the right book. I know, that’s easier said than done. If you start something and it doesn’t grab you, let it go. You can always read it another time. Often, a short book is good for breaking out of a reading slump. Reading something you can get through quickly can help to build up your confidence again. Other times, a complete change may be what’s needed. I was having a hard time staying engaged with fiction, so I turned to non-fiction.
Third, don’t compare yourself to others. If someone else is reading 10 books a week right now, that’s great. That doesn’t mean you have to do the same. For some people, reading is working as an escape mechanism right now, and for others, it is not. Don’t feel bad if you fall into that latter category.
I’m not going to talk about setting aside time to read every day, or setting goals. If you’re struggling, that’s likely not what you need to hear right now. Just know that you’re not alone.