I say "semi-qualified" because we all know the reading slump hit me hard in summer of 2019 and has been sticking around like an unwanted guest. If someone would like to help me drag Mr. Reading Slump out the door, that would be greatly appreciated. I've been using these to help my get out of this awful slump and with five books already read this month, I'd say I'm doing pretty well.
Am I even a book blogger if I don't give reading tips? I did this once AGES ago when I was basically a child (I was 17 and thought I had a busy life then), but so many things have changed since. I graduated high school, moved countries, began and graduated college, and then moved states.
Armed with a little more life experience and the desire to kick this reading slump in the butt, here are some semi-qualified tips to help us all read more.
Using different formats
This might be a no-brainer to some people, but it actually helps a lot. If I'm reading multiple books at a time, it's because they're in different formats.
Having an audiobook to listen to while I'm cleaning or doing chores helps the time pass and I get a chunk of reading done at the same time. Often times, I'll put one on while I'm in the shower or getting ready for the day. It's a short amount of time, but it's still I managed to get some reading done.
E-books are convenient for commuting if you don't want to carry a big book around. Although this is admittedly the format I use the least, I have enjoyed reading several books on my iPad Mini while on trains and buses. If you have e-ARCS or went on a Kindle free book downloading spree like I did a few years ago, this is a great way to knock those books off your list.
Of course, having a physical book is also a great reminder to read. I love seeing a physical representation of how many pages I have left and the feel of the pages turning in my hands. For me, nothing will ever replace the joy I get from reading and finishing a physical book. If you're more of a visual person and being able to see how much you have left to read, try sticking with physical books as a motivator.
Surprise, surprise, I had to talk about reading trackers. There are so many different ways to do this. Put a sticker on your calendar every day you read. Use an app like Bookly. Note the days you read in your planner or bullet journal.
If you're goal oriented like me, having a tracker can be a great motivator to read more. I love seeing my monthly trackers fill up when I read and it makes me feel like I've accomplished something. One of my favorite things is my tracker of how much time I spend reading. I have it set up so that even if I only read for a minute, I can mark it down. Even though the bar graph might be tiny, I can still see that I set aside some time to read that day.
Anyone who still uses Snapchat and loves their streaks can probably benefit from an app like Bookly that tracks the number of consecutive days you've been reading.
something a little different
I wasn't the biggest believer in this until very recently. A lot of people online swear by reading other genres to get them out of reading slumps or to keep things interesting. As someone who primarily reads mysteries and fantasy and has little desire to read other genres, I never gave this tip much thought. Until I was tired of being in a slump and spent this month reading mostly historical fiction and contemporaries.
The idea behind it is that getting out of your comfort zone every once in awhile can help keep you out of a rut. It's the opposite of another popular piece of advice - reading something you love - but it works. By taking time off from my favorite genres, I'm giving myself time to appreciate other books and get excited to return to fantasy and mysteries again next month.
This is a hit or miss. This came to me by accident because I used it to keep myself focused while doing homework during my senior year. Usually, I can't listen to music because I want to sing along, so I tried ASMR rooms. Yes, yes, I'm one of those people who listens to hours of the same sound on a loop. And no, I don't mean the ASMR videos with people in it - talking, chewing, doing weird things. I mean animated room-scapes with soothing sounds.
Because this helps occupy part of my brain, I'm better able to focus on my book. And there are a large variety of ASMR rooms for different vibes. I have a whole playlist of different sounds, from thunderstorms to cafes to haunted forests.
The only time I've been able to listen to music while reading was with folklore as I read Six of Crows. To me, the vibes matched really well and I loved having the album on while I was reading. Of course, my brain associates the two together now, but I don't mind it.
time & routine
For the organized people or the ones who need something to give them structure, try putting aside some time each day to read. This can be first thing in the morning, during meals, in the afternoon, or before bed. Personally, I have a notification on my phone every day at 2 p.m. that reminds me to read. Seeing it pop up puts the small reminder in the back of my mind as I do other things throughout the day.
It's also a great way to unwind if you're feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Giving yourself time to read for a bit and distract yourself can do wonders. I used to read before bed each night when I was in high school, and I got a ton of reading done (at the expense of sleeping, heh). It was part of my routine to relax before going to bed and it was also a reward for getting through the day.
everywhere, all the time
And lastly, the tried and true advice of having a book with you all the time. I did this a lot during college, carrying a physical book most places. There was a period of time when I also brought my iPad Mini in case I didn't have space for a physical book or because I wanted to read something else. And of course, there are also audiobooks that I spent a lot of time listening to while walking to class or while doing menial tasks.
With a book on you at all times, you can read instead of looking at your phone or waiting awkwardly for someone or something to show up. I've found that audiobooks are the easiest for me because of their portability and accessibility.