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6 Tips to Help When Reading Feels Hard

A reading slump, according to Urban Dictionary is defined as a readers worst nightmare.  I think that definition is spot on!  Reading slumps happen to even the most thoughtful, dedicated, and diligent of readers.  It’s that dreaded moment when you lose your reading focus, the words on the page simply fail to captivate you, or when picking up any book, even the ones you love, feels like picking up a hundred-pound rock.

Reading slumps tend to happen when we are experiencing changes, challenges, or stressors in our lives. During times of uncertainty, it can also be really hard to focus and concentrate on your reading.

Reading is my favorite coping strategy but sometimes even reading doesn’t work.  If reading isn’t working for you right now, don’t pressure yourself — your books will be there waiting for you when you’re ready.  I find that exercising or binge-watching my favorite movies works wonders.  But if you really want to be reading, I have six tips to help you focus and find comfort in reading again even when reading feels hard!

1.  EXPERIMENT WITH NEW BOOKS & GENRES

Maybe the books you were trying to read when you ended up in slump are not what you need right now.  Turn to your favorite genre or break free of your own literary confines and try something new.  Put together a book stack of new possibilities and read a few pages of each until one sticks.  You just might be surprised by what catches your attention.

Sometimes a switch in theme, setting, and style can is exactly the palate cleanser you need to get back into reading.  If it doesn’t work, no harm no foul, you can always go back to your comfort zone!

 

2.  CHANGE READING FORMATS

There are so many different ways to read.  You can consume books via e-books, audiobooks, or print.  If you’re struggling to focus on print or sit still, listen to an audiobook while you exercise or do chores.  If want to sit down and unwind, pause your audiobook and pick up a print book or your e-reader.

If you’re reading a tome, trying switching to something shorter – a novella, a short story collection, a book of poetry, or even a magazine.

 

3.  BE MINDFUL OF YOUR PHONE & TIME ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Cell phones and social media can be great tools or really bad influences on your reading life.  When reading feels hard or you’re going through a slump, turn off notifications and resist the urge to reach for your phone every minute.  If you are active in the online book community, resist the urge to scroll through social media.  Sometimes seeing how much others are reading and how little you are can have a negative impact.  Plus the more time you spend off your phone, the more time you have to read!

4.  SET THE MOOD

Making changes to your physical environment can work wonders.  If the weather is nice, opt to take your book and read outside.  If you have some extra time, do a little cleaning up, grab a blanket, light your favorite candle, make your favorite beverage, grab some snacks and create a cozy reading atmosphere tailored just for you.

 

5.  FOLLOW YOUR MOOD

It’s easy to get distracted by buzzy new books that everyone is raving about, or that cult classic everyone has read except you.  The reality is if you force yourself to read something you’re really not in the mood for, your brain is going to stray.  Let go of the book you THINK you should be reading and follow your mood instead.  It’s ok to stop reading books that aren’t working for you because you’ll never get that time back.  Instead, you can use that time to take a chance on a new book.  Whatever that other book is, I promise it will be there for you when you’re ready!

 

6.  SURROUND YOURSELF WITH BOOK RELATED THINGS

Even though you aren’t actually reading, sometimes doing things that involve books can spark the joy of reading in your life again.  Some book-related activities include but are not limited to:  listening to bookish podcasts, browsing your favorite book accounts online, reading reviews, reading or listening to author interviews, attending virtual events, talking to your book friends, visiting your local bookstore or library, and or asking readers you trust for help.

ADDITIONAL TIPS

– Just take a break

– Reorganize your bookshelves

– Reread trusted favorites

WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS TO GET OUT OF A READING SLUMP?

Let me know what tips and tricks have worked for you and the books that get you out of those slumps!

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