I’ve talked about this quite a lot on the blog since I started posting in January, but I began the year setting a goal for myself: reading at least one chapter of a novel every evening. The past few years, I had not been reading as much as I would have liked, struggling to finish a few novels and I couldn’t understand why. So I decided this would be a great way to get back into reading and rekindle my love for it, and it worked wonderfully. At this point in the year, I have read 70 books, and this number will surely be a bit higher by the end of December, which is a huge achievement for me. I didn’t reach my 40 books goal on goodreads for the last two or three years, so seeing 70 books now is just amazing.
I tried my best with this goal, without feeling too terrible when I didn’t manage to read some evenings. I knew pressure would simply make me dread having to pick up a book, which was obviously not the goal. I also didn’t limit myself to one chapter every evening: if I felt like reading anytime during the day, I did. Read a book in one-sitting? Sure! I guess you could say it was a simple minimum “requirement” I set for myself. The few times I didn’t manage to read a chapter was when I was so sick with the flu I could do nothing but sleep back in March, or when I had exams at university or again when my shifts at work ended really late.
Overall, I think it was a success. The few times I thought that maybe I saw a reading slump on the horizon turned out to be nothing and I was reading all these books I loved, which was wonderful. But then, September came around and reading was not so wonderful anymore. I was in a reading slump again, and I could not bring myself to read. Usually, when stressful times happen, like September was for me, I read even more. It helps me when everything seems so overwhelming. But this time, it was the exact opposite. I didn’t see it right away, but I was already under so much pressure from getting a new job, having to move in two weeks and getting ready for a new chapter of my life that adding the pressure of reading on top of it completely failed. Suddenly, reading became that “thing” I needed to do; I know I set that goal myself and I should have just let it go right there and then. Except I was so stressed, it seemed like another failure.
I didn’t read for a few weeks, and at first, I felt terrible about it. Like I said, it was as if I was failing, and this tiny goal that shouldn’t have mattered that much became a lot bigger. And the more I thought about reading, the less I wanted to actually pick up a book and read. It had nothing to do with the novel I was reading at the time (which I absolutely loved once I finished it a few weeks later) but everything to do with my state of mind. I was holding on to a routine that didn’t work for me anymore. I thought pushing myself to read a chapter every day would help me get past my reading slump, and I couldn’t understand why it didn’t. It’s only when things in my life started to settle a little that I came to the conclusion that I needed to let go of that idea. It was okay to change my reading routine; so what if I read less? Or what if it took me longer to finish a novel? It was not a big deal, as long as reading didn’t feel like a chore. As long as I enjoyed the moments when I read, whether it be 3 pages or 200. I had made reading a chore for myself, without even realizing it, and that needed to change.
Reading habits can change at different times in your life, and it’s okay. Getting over a reading slump also looks different for everyone. Reading at least one chapter a day worked perfectly for me, for a few months, and helped me find my love for reading again which is why I do not regret it in the slightest. But you should never feel bad for changing the way you read: read more, read less, read fast, read slow, it does not matter. It took me a while to come to that conclusion, but I do not have to hold myself to the standard of the first eight months of the year; if doing so makes reading become a chore, it is not worth it. Now, still in the process of getting rid of that weeks long reading slump, slowly but surely, I simply read on days when I feel like it. Sometimes, comes night time, all I want to do is read. The other day, it was when I was waiting for my rice to cook in the rice cooker, around 1pm on a Sunday. It is random, and definitely not regular, but I feel better. Maybe it will all change again in a few months, but for now, I’m finally reading again, and to me, it is all that matters.
Do you have a set reading routine, or do you read whenever you feel like it? What’s the best way you’ve gotten over a reading slump? I’d love to chat about it with you! 💛
Until next time,