How I…Am Working My Way Out of a Reading Slump

How I...Am Working My Way Out of a Reading Slump

At the beginning of the year, I had a lofty goal of reading a book a week. I was doing quite well until mid-February when an absolutely annoying book dragged on for about 3 weeks. I just lost interest in reading. I read here and there, but am definitely not reading a book a week this year.

For months, I was consumed instead by just being a mom. But last month was emotionally rough and I did what I always did when life got hard: I turned to books.

But, while I was interested, I lacked the will. I have more books on my Kindle than I care to count, but none of them were screaming at me. I have books that have been sitting since at least 2011 (whoops). I have books from the now ended Kindle Scout program (which was a great way to get free books, but, as it turns out, I’ve almost hated most of the books from them that I have actually read, and have quite enjoyed some of the books that were not selected for publication). I have books that have been written by many authors that I follow (I promise I’ll get to them and will post reviews!).

I have many options. There are fantasy and sci-fi books, mysteries and thrillers, literary fiction novels, the odd romance, and an historical or two. You’d think there would be something that would pique my interest. Really, there are many books that I would love to read, but…well, I can’t always motivate myself to even look at them. Despite the fact that I love books.

In high school and college, I always had a book with me. People I didn’t know knew me because I was always toting around a book. And they weren’t slim little novels everyone was raving about. No, they were thick, heavy epic fantasies. There were a couple I could have used as weapons. I read every day. I read every night. At one point, I couldn’t even fall asleep without spending at least 15 minutes reading!

Becoming a mom only slightly slowed me down. Naptimes were prime reading time, especially with a baby slumbering on me. Nighttime wakings were also fantastic times. And my son still won’t go to sleep unless we read to him. My daughter is another story, but at least she’s currently obsessed with a germs book that’s teaching her good hygiene. And considering she’s 16 months and loves eating off the floor, this is a good book for her.

But that book I read in February just killed me. For the first time in a long time I had no desire to read. I had even started a much more interesting book after I managed to finish it, but I had just completely run out of steam. For 5 months.

So, what did I do to finally get out of my slump?

Well, it took a few steps.

  1. Don’t judge a book by its cover, but, in this case, just do it. As I scrolled through my library, I picked the first book I came to that was visually interesting. And I stopped scrolling. It didn’t matter what the book was about. I was going to start reading.
  2. 5, 10, 15, 20. I wasn’t invested in reading yet, and possibly had no real interest in this book that was visually appealing. So, I started with reading just 5 minutes for the day. After a day or two, I increased my daily reading time to 10 minutes, then 15, and so on. Usually I found myself reading longer, so I was satisfied. And whenever I think I don’t feel like reading, I start over with just 5 minutes.
  3. My 25% rule. I have so many books that I’m probably not actually interested in anymore. But goodness knows which ones those are! Instead, I set a 25% rule. If I enjoy the story by the time I reach the 25% mark, I’ll finish the book. If I hate the book by the time I get there, it automatically goes into my abandoned pile and I start back at step 1. Otherwise I finish, review, and return to step 1.
  4. Join NetGalley. I follow many book blogs and noticed many of them were getting free books in exchange for honest reviews. The Lily Cafe is a lifestyle blog, but I have a history of writing book reviews since books are life to me, so I thought why not? I had to at least try and getting one book would be worth it. Turns out I was approved for 4 in less than a week, so now I have some deadlines. Nothing like a deadline for someone who always meets them to get me reading. Which reminds me I need to get reading!

And that’s how I got out of a reading slump and 4 free books. How do you do it?

  1. OneLife

    It always helps to get insights from someone who’s going through the patch or phase you are going through. Surely, many of us will connect to your trivia here just like me and will devote our 5 mins 🙂 . It’s the will to stand up again and reinvigorate that matters.

    • kat

      Very true. Sometimes you just have to make yourself start so you can go, but a running start isn’t always necessary. I find that by starting small, I’m more likely to keep going. Thanks so much for reading!

  2. Raney Simmon

    I guess since I rarely get in a reading slump I usually just find a book that really interests me to get out of one. Usually something I know I’ll enjoy reading. But if for whatever reason that doesn’t work, I’ll try rereading a book I really love.

    • kat

      You’re very lucky! I went most of my reading life without going into a slump, but I guess it had to catch up eventually. But that’s a great idea to re-read a favorite. What better way than to pick up something that you already know you’ll love? Thanks for reading and for your idea!

  3. brookejcutler

    Gosh! You could write the story of my life, I think ha ha ha. There was one point back in the day were I would go to the library and not even look at anything that wasn’t a giant brick. I just knew I needed more time with any one book because I’d inevitably fall in love with the characters and want to spend more time with them. 😂 These days it’s such a struggle to get motivated to read after big days with the kids, but I do try to sneak in some sneaky words here and there. ☺️ Happy reading, fellow book bug!!!

    • kat

      There’s nothing quite like losing oneself in a good brick, I mean book. There’s just so much more to them and the complexity is so much more riveting. I long for those long reading days, but maybe my kids will pick up books and we’ll have family reading times. The dream of a reading mom? Maybe too optimistic, but there are just so many good books waiting to be read. Happy reading to you as well!

      • brookejcutler

        I know, Kat. I’m in the trenches, too. Reading is such a luxury theses days. To think there was a time we could just pick up a book and stay with it, all day long if we wanted. I miss that so much. But I’d never trade my little ones in. ☺️ Just be nice to drown in a sea of ‘me time’ a bit more often. ☺️

      • kat

        It really is. Children can be so delightful. But I would be lying if I said I’m not looking forward to them getting older so I get more reading time.

  4. Alex

    I read two at once ( well kind of!) I am reading a really deep book about Meditation at the moment. But last thing before bed I don’t want to read something that heavy, so I am also reading a Red Dwarf novel! …Oh and actually I am reading a 3rd book on my phone that I dip into when I’m on the go. Different books for different moods to keep the interest going.

    • kat

      Sounds like a great way to be productive! And to always have something that will make you happy. Perhaps the problem with reading slumps is that we read one book at a time or too many books of the same genre, so there’s really a lack of excitement. Either way, sounds like a good way to always find something interesting!

      • Alex

        A book to learn with, a book for downtime. A book that you can fit in to small chunks of time. Eventually I’ve found that having different books available for different moods has meant Ive cut right back on other activities like watching TV or procrastinating on the internet…!

  5. FairytaleFeminista

    I know exactly what you mean. For me, it’s when I read a book that I feel lukewarm about. Either I feel that I should finish it (being a writer, I feel guilt knowing how hard it is to write a book) or I Ieave the book and have hesitation to pick up a new one for fear of being disappointed again. Sometimes I have to go back to a book I’ve already read so I can shake off the feeling–like a palate cleanser.

    • kat

      Exactly! Writers put so much of themselves into their books that it can feel mean to give up on it. At the same time, a book might just not suit a reader. Though reading a perennial favorite is a great idea to get back into reading.

      On another note, I believe you emailed me earlier this summer about a book you were publishing? I’m so sorry I never got back to you. I must have accidentally deleted it and just couldn’t remember your blog name. Have you published it?

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