Reading isn’t always easy or enjoyable.
Sometimes, it can be incredibly difficult to focus and engage with the text you’re trying to read, especially if your mind is elsewhere. Lately, on social media, I’ve been seeing a lot of people relate to this. They’re finding it hard to read during these strenuous times.
I won’t be able to help everyone read again with a snap of my fingers (though I wish I could), but I wanted to craft this list of practices that have helped me out of a reading slump in the hopes that they help you, too.
1. Try something different.
Read outside of your comfort zone. Change up the genre. By trying new things, you’ll open yourself up to new experiences and feelings which will help to make reading exciting again.
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2. Reread an old favorite.
There is nothing wrong with revisiting a favorite book. In fact, it’s something to be celebrated. With every reread, you pick up on things that you didn’t notice before while finding comfort in what you know and love. It’s magic.
3. Let yourself take a break.
Sometimes, you really do need a break. Set a time limit to how long you go before cracking open a book (so it doesn’t carry on forever) and then let yourself relax.
4. Read a really short book.
I find that reading a short book and finishing it quickly makes me feel good inside because I accomplished something. It often inspires me to pick up another.
5. Change where you read.
I’m the kind of person who will travel all around my house at different times of the day to refocus myself on the task at hand—whether that’s work, writing, or reading a book. A change of scenery can work wonders and motivate you to center yourself again.
6. Go to the bookstore or library.
It seems simple but surrounding yourself with a lot of books is the best thing ever and will definitely get you excited to read. Unfortunately, many libraries and bookstores aren’t fully open right now. If they’re open by appointment, wear your mask and safely browse. If they’re not, utilize curbside pick-up or browse online and treat yourself to a new book.
7. Join a book club.
My virtual book club has been the best thing to happen to me during quarantine. It keeps me on track and helps me to read even when I don’t feel like it.
8. Read something light-hearted.
Even if you normally go for hard-hitting nonfiction or novels, let yourself escape into something that is fast-paced and feels good. A fun romance or a funny memoir or a YA novel will do the trick.
9. Switch up format.
Try an e-book or an audiobook. I find that e-books can be less daunting because you can’t see the physical pages that are in a book, and audiobooks are fun when you’re having trouble focusing on words because you can listen while you do something else.
10. Put down your phone.
This seems obvious but really, put down the phone. We are so hooked on them and while they’re great for many reasons, especially staying connected, they can distract us from other things that require our attention.
Featured image: @JulieK via Twenty20