Monday, December 5, 2016

Climbing Out of a Reading Slump (a.k.a climbing Mt. Everest)

So we've established that I took a little abrupt break for a few months, and while there's a large negative side to that, it sort of prompted this post, so yay!

Essentially, for me, my reading life and blogging life are closely knit. When I'm not in the mood to read, I'm not in the mood to blog. And that's sort of what happened. I fell into a slump, and I pulled out of the bookish community, in turn pulling me out of my blog. So today's post is going to be all about beating (and avoiding) that reading slump. 

The first thing to address here is how to avoid getting into that slump in the first place. 

Rule number one, don't push yourself to read more than you can. I know one mistake I made was forcing myself to read wayyyy more on a daily basis than I really wanted to. I was heavily invested in hitting a daily page goal, and would spend a lot of time mathematically figuring out how many pages I'd read, and needed to read, instead of focusing on the book I was actually reading. Everyone wants to read more, but instead of focusing on page count, try and hit a certain amount of time. That's right, set a goal of, say, reading for an hour each day, and every time you pick up that book, hit a stopwatch or something. That way you can focus on how much genuine reading time you get instead of how many pages you read. (OR you can just live in the moment and not track your reading at all!)

Rule number two, don't set unrealistic goals. That time of year is coming up again. You know which one. The Goodreads Reading Challenge time of year. As December winds up, you'll be faced with setting your 2017 read books goal. Please, please, please, make it realistic. Don't push yourself to read 200 books if you know you'll be stressed out reading that 200 books. There's nothing wrong with a little challenge, but forcing yourself to speed read will only throw you into a slump. Instead, try setting a realistic goal that will challenge you, but still be achievable. (Or set an easy goal if you really don't care about how many books you read, so long as you're enjoying it.)

And rule number 3, don't compare yourself to other readers. Yes, sometimes we look at those crazy people who can read billions of books every year, and compare ourselves just a teeny bit. I know it's hard, but just accept that the amount of books you can read is good enough, if you're happy reading! There's no point in striving to be someone you're not. Your schedule only allows for so many books each month, so instead of feeling down about yourself, be happy, because as long as you love to read, you're just as much of a reader as everyone else!

Now that we've established how to avoid said slump, we will go into how to get out of one. 

First thing's first- acknowledge that you are in a slump. Acceptance is the first step to healing. Once we're aware that this is indeed a reading slump, proceed to the following steps.

- Go book shopping! Nothing gets those reading juices flowing like purchasing all those new releases you were excited for. Do you need more books? Probably not. Does that actually matter to you in the slightest? Nope. So go, purchase some new books, spice up your TBR pile, and see if that doesn't kick you back into reading gear!

- Watch some BookTube. I find that watching people hold up pretty, pretty books while they passionately talk about the um, plot and stuff, is quite motivating. Let them remind you of the joy that comes with reading, and perhaps that'll get you back into motion.

- Reread a well-beloved book. I would suggest a Harry Potter reread, to be specific. Other books I've enjoyed rereading are Percy Jackson, the Mortal Instruments, and any Rainbow Rowell book.

- In the words of Eliza, "take a break". Taking a step back from the reading world for a week may be what you need to reset your reading juices. In the meantime, feel free to listen to the Hamilton CR on repeat.

- Re-arrange your bookshelves. I've never actually tried this before, but reorganizing bookshelves is fun. Plus, sprucing things up always makes my room look nicer, and then I spend a lot of time just staring at my shelves. That's pretty motivational, right?

- Buddy read with a friend. Pick a book you and a fellow reader friend have both been wanting to read, and read it! Try and agree on a certain place to be at the end of a certain period of time, and then discuss! Having someone counting on you to read might be what you need to start your routine up again. (And if you don't have a fellow reader friend, hit up any of us blogger people!)

- Change the time of day you read. Have you always been a night time reader, climbing into bed and cracking open that novel before you drift off to sleep? Carve off some time in the morning to read a couple chapters before you start your day! Changing up the time you read might make you more willing to read. (I find once you've found a routine, your brain has a tendency to reject it. ;) )

And that concludes this episode of Julia (tries to) Help 101. Let me know what you do to climb out of a reading slump, and when the last time you had a slump was! 

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