How to Get Out of a Reading Slump

May was spent participating in a bookstagram photo challenge and also buying books, sorting books, and reading about books in hopes to add some more interesting titles to my TBR – not that mine is short and in need of any new additions. As a result, I found myself in an epic reading slump, and thought of the ways to drag myself out of it. Here’s what I came up with – maybe it will help you as well?

(photo by Oxana)

Limit your choice

Choice is good, but when it’s wide, it’s hard to focus on something. If you have a lot of books, pick several for your TBR pile, and pretend that you’ve got nothing else.

Stop buying books

This tip will not work for everybody, as there are sensible people out there who are meticulous in only buying books they intend to read immediately – but I ain’t one of ’em. Thanks to my parents, my grandparents and the humble ole me, my library is huge. I know it won’t be getting any smaller, but I should certainly control how many books I buy. There is a strong correlation between me buying a lot of books and not reading anything. The more time (and money!) I spend in bookshops, the less time I spend actually reading. Perhaps you’re the same? Then stop buying, and get to reading!

Shop your shelves

Stand in front of your bookshelves and imagine yourself in a library or in a bookshop. Pick a book and recall why you got it in the first place. Then ‘take it home’ to read. 😀

Go for your favourites

Whenever I feel stuck in my reading, I pick up a book by my favourite author or in my favourite genre – or both! Agatha Christie, I’m looking at you.

Explore a new genre

But perhaps you like shaking things up a little instead? Explore a new genre then. If you’re a romance reader, pick up a mystery; if you like mysteries, take a look at fantasy, etc. If your reading is pretty much across all genres, look for a subgenre or for a category that you haven’t touched in a long time.

Join a readalong

I’ve never been in a readalong before, but I hear it’s fun and motivating. We’ll see how I fare in June, with a Wilkie Collins one. 😉

Join a readathon

Now these, I’ve done. Even if it won’t kick you out of your reading slump indefinitely, you’re bound to get some reading done! I’m not the most prolific readathoner in the universe. I think the best I’ve done was three rather short books. Nevertheless, it was enough for me to become caught up with my reading goal for that year – and it did kick me out of my reading slump.

Set a timer

Set a timer for 10, 20, 30 minutes, and get going. When the time is up, stop. But I guarantee you, you’ll want to continue.

Aim for 20 pages a day

20 pages a day is not a lot. An experienced reader could easily get through that amount, so even if you feel uninspired, you’ll be able to do it. When you’re done with 20 pages, stop. Chances are, though, just like with the timer point above, you’d want to get going after your 20 pages are done.

Change your setting

If your usual reading place is in your bedroom, move to another place in your house. If the weather permits, go outside. I love reading in the park on a good weather day. Another popular choice is a cafe or a coffee shop.

A post shared by Alex (@readanythingonce) on

Make your setting

I find that I read (write, sleep…) better if I have a dedicated space in the house to do so. I don’t have one now, and I do believe that it affects my reading mood. If you feel like your reading joy has dropped, perhaps find a corner in your house to make deliberately bookish?

Drop it

Do you make it a point to finish all books that you start? Life’s too short to waste it on bad print. If you feel inclined, skim the remaining pages to get a rough idea of how it pans out – then drop that mother, together with the habit of digging through pages and pages of bollocks.

Take a break

If all else fails, just take a break. No one can perform at 100% capacity all the time. Perhaps it’s time to take a break and digest what you’ve read before. Some books overwhelm you, give you a reading hang-over, or even put you in a reading coma. Give yourself a few days to think through what you’ve read, then slowly pick out your next read, and begin again.

How has your reading been going? Any advice on how to get out of a reading slump?

Don’t Focus on the Positive

don't focus on the positive

Every self-help article out there touts the wretched positivity horn.

Be happy! Smile! Don’t worry! Fake it til you make it! You’re a unicorn.

No. I hate to break it to you, but… no.

This is not focus on positivity. This is disillusionment that everything in your life is fine whilst you once more shut the doors upon the wreck, and numb and dumb yourself down even further with binge sessions of cute flatlays with rose gold and marble, or whatever your preferred choice of porno is.

No. Stop it right there.

Don’t focus on the positive.

Focus on positive action.

Repeat with me:

Focus on positive action.

Repeat with me again:

Focus on positive action.

Positivity without action is harmful.

“Hey, I have a clean mug, that’s good, I’ll focus on that.”

No. Don’t focus on a clean mug. Focus on the action that gave you that clean mug. You picked it up, and you washed it.

Don’t focus on a lost pound. Focus on what you did and didn’t do to get yourself that lost pound. You ate less sugar and walked more.

Don’t focus on a saved tenner. Focus on the actions you’ve performed to get yourself that saved tenner. You didn’t buy another nail polish, and you followed a strict shopping list.

Don’t focus on a finished sale. Focus on what you did to close the sale. You worked on your product and you were attentive to the client’s needs.

Focus on the action that yields you positive results, and do more of that.