I’m in a slump.
Books that excited me months ago now bore me to tears.
I’ll draw a bath, pick out a nice book, and spend a lovely hour in a steaming tub…playing games on my phone.
This has happened before.
In fact, many times.
Since I began blogging, I’ve learned a few things about slumps.
Slumps ≠ Failure
I used to tell myself really mean things when I didn’t feel like reading.
Good writers read, right?
So do productive and intelligent people.
If I’m not reading, I must be stupid, lazy, and a bad writer.
No matter that my brain feels foggy and I don’t absorb whatever I try reading.
I’m starting to distance myself from self-judgment.
I do not cease to be a reader if I take a break every now and again.
I’m likely tired
Reading takes energy.
If I don’t feel like reading, I probably need a rest.
Instead of forcing myself to read, I ask my body what it wants.
The answers are simple: water, chocolate, a homemade meal, a long bath.
Sometimes it asks for sudoku, TV, or video games, anything I can enjoy with minimal engagement.
Not on the list: books, guilt, perseverance.
I’ll save those for when I have more stamina.
I can’t fix it
My motto for the first 25 years of my life was, “IF I JUST TRY HARDER, I CAN MAKE THIS WORK.”
I think I can get myself out of a slump by forcing myself to read more.
The harder I try, the longer the slump lasts.
I then wonder why I feel exhausted and anxious.
I’ve developed a new strategy: ride the slump out.
I scroll Twitter and do sudoku puzzles during my break and ignore my anxiety’s pleas for me to finish one book, any book.
Reading is a hobby, not a codependent relationship.
If I feel trapped by my reading habits, it’s best if I take a break.
I get to catch up on other interests
Oh, so reading isn’t my entire life. Good to know.
When I’m not reading, I partake in one of my favorite hobbies: knitting while watching horror movies.
I don’t get to do this often. It is SO RELAXING.
Once in a while, I remember I like to bake.
I knock out some great treats for my coworkers and have leftover desserts for DAYS.
I also get to feel PRODUCTIVE.
I reset my brain, pt. 1
Slumps allow me to reorder my priorities.
Distance lets me reconsider books I own and books on my TBR.
Am I REALLY interested in that book on my pile?
Am I going to reread that novel in the future?
Am I enjoying the book I’m currently reading?
Slumps tell me where my interests actually lie.
I reset my brain, pt. 2
My library stocks exciting new releases. Even at my tiny local branch, I can find exclusive hardbacks and just-published reads with two-week deadlines.
I’ll grab ANYTHING that looks good, from Hank Green to Padme fanfiction.
Inevitably, I start to freak out. HOW WILL I MEET ALL THESE VARIED READING DEADLINES??
Slumps force me to assess which library finds I actually want to read.
Often, it’s none of them.
I remind myself, “You can come back to these books at any time.”
Once I think these magic words, I feel free.
I can still read poetry, comics, and graphic novels
I read these genres without much effort.
I love reading four books in one day and NOT FEELING TIRED.
I’m not alone
I used nasty synonyms for slump until the blogging community set me straight.
I’m not a lazy failure; slumps happen to everyone!
Some of my favorite bloggers experience them several times a year.
Certain seasons hit harder than others. Life gets busy. Tastes change.
We all eventually snap out of it and get back to the books. Slumps are part of the gig.
Amazon delivered a new book yesterday, one I’d forgotten I’d ordered.
I started it this morning and it’s amazing. I want to spend all weekend reading it.
The slump may be over.
If not, I know I’ll be okay.
I have knitting and horror movies to occupy me.