Reading is probably my favourite thing to do. There is (usually) nothing I’d rather do. But that was before the dreaded book slumps that have been plaguing me for the past few years.
Before I graduated from high school there was nothing that could convince me not to read in my spare time. In fact, I spent time where I should have been working on homework reading instead. Those were the good old days.
Fast forward five years and it’s a completely different story. Reading has become such a task for me now. It’s exhausting to think about at times. I used to read two to four books a week pre-graduation. Now I read about one every month, if that.
Now my TBR is way too long to even keep track of. There were a lot of books that I was looking forward to reading when I was in high school, but just didn’t have the time. And those books are still on my TBR today.
There are so many new books coming out every month that I really want to read, so my TBR just keeps getting long and longer. Sometimes I feel really guilty about reading a new release, because there are so many other books that have been sitting on my TBR for years. This makes it hard for me to read anything.
Plus I have a hard time reading for fun during my semesters because I feel like I should be studying instead. And all the readings I have to do for my classes are exhausting, so I don’t usually feel like reading a book once my semester is over.
So, how can I fix this?
My TBR was causing so many problems for me. I had one on Goodreads and I had a physical one on my bookshelf. This list of books I felt I had to read was giving me a lot of anxiety and stress.
The first thing I had to do was work on clearing my Goodreads account. This was relatively easy because all I had to do was click a few different things and suddenly my TBR was empty. Now I only use my Goodreads TBR shelf to keep track of books that I want to have another look at while I’m scrolling through my newsfeed.
After this, I reorganized my bookshelf. I took books off of it that have been sitting on it for years now. I moved those books so I wouldn’t have to look at them every time I looked at my bookshelf. Then I made sure to put enough books that I’d already read on the shelves that I look at the most (eye-level), to reduce any stress I could be feeling about unread books on my shelf. This has actually helped immensely.
I used to set my Goodreads reading goal at 50 books per year. This in itself would cause me anxiety. It was almost like I was giving myself mandatory reading homework and a deadline to complete it by. To overcome this, I lowered my goal to 25 books per year. This had also significantly lowered any stress I have around reading. This also helps me for when I am in school, because I don’t feel like I need to be reading a book every few days. I know that I’ll be able to read most of those books during my summer break.
One really interesting thing I stopped doing was reading books in a certain order. There were certain books on my shelf that I really wanted to read, but felt that I should read other books first. The other books could have been in a series that I was trying to finish or I needed to read them for a review. In the end, I wouldn’t really be able to read either book. Now I will just reach for whichever book I really want to read. This way I am avoiding a reading slump and I can get through more books in a shorter period of time.
In summary, the best way to make reading fun again is to avoid things that make reading stressful. Sounds a lot more simple than it actually is, because I had to figure this all out slowly. And the stressors/obstacles will be different for everyone. But the whole process was definitely worth it in the end.