Posted in Books, Real Life

What I’ve Learned From Reading Slumps

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.

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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.

Slumps happen.

 

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.

TANGIBLE RESULTS.

 

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.

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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.

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Author:

She/her. 4w3. Lover of vegan cream cheese and performative angst. Seattle-based writer currently dabbling in socialism and progressive Christianity. I love to call out, complain, overreact, analyze, and reimagine. This site contains the fruit of that labor.

2 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned From Reading Slumps

  1. I’ve had quite some slumps this year already. Although it just happens and you can do a whole lot about it, I try to minimize the impact and duration of the slump. Picking up other hobbies is a great one as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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