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Five Ways to Overcome a Reading Slump

A reader overcomes a reading slump by lying on a hammock reading an ebook.

Watch the video or read the tips below!

We've all been there. Maybe you're there right now. You have ebooks on your ereader or paperbacks on your shelves or new releases on your wishlist that you want to read, but you can't seem to do it. You can't get into the right frame of mind. So you put it off.

But the thing is, you want to want to read. You remember the amazing feeling of getting lost in a book, and you want that feeling again. You want to care about characters and experience their adventures, their heartaches, and their victories. You want a good book to make you feel alive again.

What's the longest reading slump you've ever had?

I had an epiphany a few years ago about the thinking process we go through when deciding to read a book. First, we wonder, "What if I don't like this book?" Then we wonder, "What if I don't have time to read it?" We worry we will waste our money, our time, and our energy, and, especially when we're already feeling stressed and anxious about other things going on in our lives and in the world, these worries can paralyze us and send us into a reading slump.

Over the years I've come up with five strategies to help me overcome my reading slumps. At different times in my life, one method has worked better than another. Sometimes I have to try all five before I find the one that gets me reading again. But at least one of these has always worked for me. I hope the same will be true for you.

1. Reread a favorite book. This is my go-to strategy because it works more than any other method. It works because you already know the answer to the question, "What if I don't like this book?" You are already in love with the characters, and you enjoy spending time with them. To get past the worry over making time or wasting time, carve out ten minutes--just ten minutes a day--to reread one of your favorite books. Integrate it into your daily routine. You could read for ten minutes over coffee in the morning, or ten minutes with hot tea or a glass of wine in the evenings. Or maybe you can take a break from your daily work to have a snack and a ten-minute read (don't let yourself have that snack or that tea or that wine unless you read). You may find yourself reading for much more than ten minutes!

2. Read the book version of a movie or television show that you love. This is another way to get past the question, "What if I don't like this book?" Because you love the movie or the television show, you will likely love the characters in the book version. Chances are you will love them even more, because, as we all know, the characters in books tend to be more fully developed than those on the screen. If you're a fan of Outlander or The Vampire Diaries, for example, try the books. Use the same time method above to get you going.

3. Read a book by an author you've read and enjoyed before. Again, this strategy minimizes the fear we have when we ask, "What if I don't like this book?" Because you enjoyed one book by the author, odds are high that you will enjoy another. This is especially true if the book shares the world or the characters (or both) of the book you've already read. Again, use the ten-minute-a-day method to ease into it. I bet you won't be able to stop!

4. Listen to an audiobook. This strategy focuses more on overcoming the fear associated with the second question, "What if I don't have time to read this book?" I've heard some people say they can't listen to audiobooks because their minds wander. I'll be addressing that problem in a future segment about how to get the most out of audiobooks, but for now, just know that they can be huge time savers. Not only can you listen to them with the speed turned up (I don't usually do that, but many do), you can also listen while you're doing mindless tasks, such as loading and unloading the dishwasher, driving, and waiting in line. I always have an active audiobook on my phone, and it makes having to wait in line or in traffic so much more enjoyable!

5. Keep a reading log. This strategy won't work for everyone. In fact, for some, it may have the opposite effect: it could paralyze a reader even more. But, for planners and goal-setters like me, a reading log is just the thing to motivate you to get through your TBR pile. I love recording things, making lists, and checking things off. Sometimes, I even make a list of things I've already done just so I can check them off! I do this with books, too. Having a pretty, printable reading log makes it even more enjoyable to track your reading. If you would like a free copy of the one I use, click here.

A reading log to help overcome a reading slump.

ONE MORE thing you can do is join a club of likeminded book lovers. I have a group on Facebook called THE POHLER BEAR LOUNGE, and I would love for you to join us here.

If you're in a slump but know you love vampire novels, then you might want to check out The Vampires of Athens Series. A teen from New York studies abroad in Athens and becomes addicted to a vampire.

The cover for Vampire Addiction features a gothic-looking girl.

Btw, if you don't already own The Bookworm Bible--my fifty-page comprehensive guide for book lovers compiled from articles I've written over the years on topics such as "How to Read When You're Too Busy" and "How to Write Easy Peasy Book Reviews" with free resources such as a printable reading log, review templates, and an online reading journal--grab your free copy here.


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