Recently, I’ve found myself locked in a powerful and irritating battle with the Slump Monster. This has been so aggravating for multiple reasons, but the most prevalent of those reasons are all the really cool books that I’ve bought over the course of this past month! Paroozing through bookstores and online bookish shelves has allotted me with one hell of a haul pile. I really want to jump off the highest board straight into the pool of imagination, but alas…the Slump Monster has hunted me down and began its torment.
I know, I know…That was super dramatic. But I honestly loathe reading slumps. They not only affect my ability to read books, but also comics and manga. Most of the time, if I’m superiorly unlucky, they also affect my ability to write—blog posts, stories, e-mails. Reading slumps are also a relatively new experience for me. I didn’t begin to get haunted by these villainous energy-sapping scum until mid-2015. Before then, I didn’t even realise it was a thing.
Last year, when I was ready to pull my hair out with frustration at being stranded on Slump Island, I went ahead and took the initiative to find ways to combat it. While most of the methods I’ve tried failed miserably, I did find a few things that helped me to get back into the reading frame of mind. Most of these tips helped to slowly roll me into a successful book craving, rather than just flip-a-switch to make the slump disappear. Since these ideas helped me, I decided to share it with you all out there with the hopes that they may be able to help a fellow Slump-Victim!
Watching TV or Films with Bookworm Characters
One of the first things that I tried out was hopping onto Netflix and searching for something to watch that had characters who loved to read. The very first one that came to mind was of course the TV show Gilmore Girls. Rory, who is one of the main protagonists of the show, is a brainy young girl who absolutely loves her books! After that I watched a film from the early 2000s, The Mummy, which has a protagonist who is a very proud librarian. These two shows really helped me feel indulgent towards picking up a novel or two, mostly of the fantasy realm. I found that watching these characters banter and chat about books so passionately made me feel a bit envious. It wasn’t an immediate solution, but I found it very helpful!
Taking a Break from My Personal Library
Sometimes by staring at my massive library and stacks of unread books, I found myself feeling overwhelmed. I had bought these titles because they legitimately sounded brilliant, but because they were so bloody many of them, I always found it difficult to choose one book over the other. When this happens, I step away from novels that I own and ask a friend to toss me something that I don’t already have, and preferably something that I’ve never even heard of. This element of surprise that comes from having someone else choose my next read was rather invigorating, and usually helped me narrow down a craving for something off my personal shelves. Hey, this is how I discovered the phenomenal comic book series Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (thank you Sir Boyfriend).
Two of my go-to places for reading are usually my bed, and my desk. Yet over time I discovered that by reading in bed, I tend to get sleepy very quickly. This led to a slump because I began to associate books with naps! Definitely not the greatest thing. My desk worked for a long time, but then my computer became a terrible distraction (if it was on) with all the tinkering that comes with it—social media, video games, cat videos on YouTube. To combat these bad habits, I created a very special place in my room that consists of a small leather couch, an end table beside it with a sufficient reading lamp, and some snacks stashed beneath the table. There’s also an ottoman that I would like to use, if I can ever shanghai it away from my cat… That thief… On days when it’s not wet outside, I walk over to small bench in my neighbourhood that sits beneath a beautiful tree with dark purple leaves. That change of environment really helps me feel refreshed and ready to read.
Finding Book Tags to Tackle
I know this one may sound a bit weird, but just hear me out. Doing book tags and going back to books that I adored with highly energetic fangirl theatrics can help me reconnect to my passion for literature. I can remember why these books are my favourites and how they affected me. Most of the time this will make me want to re-read those titles, but hey, at least it gets me reading! Even if the tag is about books that I positively despised, thinking about the stuff I hated usually makes me think of a counter title that did everything right where the hated-one failed. Re-reads are a fun way to re-establish that joy that one can only get from books, which can greatly impact the Slump Monster’s grasp!
Watching Favourite BookTubers
Hopping on to YouTube and re-watching some of my favourite BookTubers discuss all sorts of bookish things (tags, reviews, hauls, etc.) in fun and well-articulated ways helps me feel engaged and involved with reading community. I feel less alone. If they have videos on reading slumps, I like watching those the most as I realise that I’m not the only who is attacked by this monstrosity. The motivation to pick up a book, even if it’s just to read the back or a random chapter, kicks into high gear. Suddenly I want to read this book that they can’t stop raving about and discover what’s so fantastic about it. This doesn’t always work, and usually it just helps my TBR to grow like a weed, but occasionally it can do the trick. **I’ve shared a few of my favourite BookTubers down below!**
Lastly, Let the Slump Do Its Slumping
When this occurs, I hate admitting it because it leaves me feeling slightly defeated, but accepting a reading slump can be vital as well. Your body, or your brain is probably trying to tell you to slow it down a node or two, and that a small break may be mentally and emotionally necessary. Walking away from books for a time—whether it’s a couple of days, weeks, or even months—can help refresh you and invigorate you. So, when you finally do return to the land of the dead trees, you’ll be able to hop right in with a new-found appreciation, or just a whole new level of enthusiasm that you may have missed. The energy and glee that I felt after taking a break always made me feel so happy and comforted. It can be an awesome feeling.
Well, those are all of tips that I have for defeating a Slump Monster! What about you folks out there, what are some ways that you combat reading slumps? Do you accept it? Or duel it to death?