Our Reading Lives

Why I’m Beginning to Embrace Reading Slumps

Olivia Páez

Staff Writer

Olivia Páez is a Cuban-American journalism major. When she’s not writing articles for her classes, you can probably find her devouring a novel or watching a classic film. Along with reading and watching films, she has a hodgepodge of interests. Some of them include writing, sketching, traveling, dressing up as some of her favorite characters, and caring for the environment.

Reading slumps: a reader’s worst nightmare. It’s the time when no story seems to hold your attention, and you simply are not motivated to read. It can happen after reading an amazing novel, or it can occur over time. Years ago, I used to worry about getting into a reading slump. They were seen as an inconvenience to me because any free time I had, I should have been reading. I avoided the dreaded reading slumps which I saw as a menace to me.

Reading the end of a book before finishing it

But as the years have passed, I’ve learned to embrace reading slumps. I’ve grown to accept that I don’t read as fast as I used to in high school when reading came as easily as breathing. Now, I read at a much slower pace, thanks to college consuming all my free-time. I’m not reading as many books as I used to, and that is perfectly fine.

As we grow older, we all take on more responsibilities and the amount of free time we have dwindles down. Jobs, college, sports, endless amounts of assignments, and life gets in the way. And sometimes the motivation to sit down and read a novel is just not there. I’ve grown to accept that. I’m embracing the reading slumps that I get into, every now and then.

I always consider reading to be a form of creativity. You use creativity to lose yourself in a TV show, watch a film, or listen to a new album that you’ve been anticipating. And that’s the case with reading, as well. It takes some sort of creativity to create worlds in your heads, to follow along with characters as they journey through their fictional lives. You have to use your imagination to follow along with a story and be engaged in it. Sometimes your creativity dwindles down and thus a reading slump is formed.

It’s perfectly okay to not be in the mood to pick up a novel to read. Not everyone can have a consistent reading speed. I’ve learned that every couple of months, I hardly pick up a novel because I’m just not in the mood to read. I think embracing the fact that there will be times when books don’t interest you will lift a weight off your shoulders.

Pressure mounts the moment you let yourself worry about how many books you read each year. You may feel forced to read books at all times in order to keep up with your Goodreads goal. But now that I’ve stopped taking part in the annual Goodreads challenge, I’ve stopped caring about the number of books I read per month and year. I’ve embraced the fact that I have more responsibilities and less time to read. I still try to make time to read, every so often, but I don’t harp on the fact that I sometimes don’t have the energy or creativity to dive into a new fictional world.

Sometimes you need to take a step back from reading and focus on other interests that you have. Not everyone can be a consistent reading machine. It’s okay if you don’t find any of your TBR interesting, at the moment. Your books will still be there days, weeks, or months from now. Reading doesn’t have to be a race, despite what the Goodreads Challenge says. You don’t have to read X amount of books in order to be a real or accomplished reader. You might read at a faster or slower pace than others, and that’s fine. We all read at our own pace, and reading slumps are a common occurrence.

Rather than fighting against the slumps that creep up on me, every once in a while, I’ve begun to embrace my slumps. I know I can’t be creative all the time. I may not have the energy or time to read, and it’s fine. The amount of books you read doesn’t matter, and having that pressure upon you only makes you stressed, in the end. Reading slumps helped me take a step back from reading, recharge, and eventually dive back into fictional worlds, once I’m good and ready.