Chitter-Chatter: How to Feel Better During Reading Slumps

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As some of you know, I’ve created a ‘Chitter-Chatter‘ series where we can talk about book related topics. If you have missed previous posts: we talked about To-Be-Read lists and how to manage them. In the previous episode we talked about Reading Challenges and how to feel comfortable at failing them.

For today’s Chitter-Chatter series, I have chosen a topic that is unfortunately well known within the bookish community; let’s talk reading slumps, shall we?

There have been many great articles written on reading slumps. Some of my favourite ones are:

  • Norrie @ Reading under the Blankie offers great tips on how to deal with such periods of time. I found some of her strategies useful.
  • The Orangutan Librarian talks about the joys of re-reading books and how that can help getting out of reading slumps. I can totally see her point and it is something I am planning on trying out shortly as well.
  • Krysta @ Pages Unbound talks about why reading slumps can actually be valuable to us, readers.  Her thoughts inspired me to write today’s post. Thanks Krysta for that!

What I want to talk about today is how to feel better during reading slumps.

I think these times could be troublesome to us, readers, as we may start feeling like we are failing at being readers. And that doesn’t feel good. Hopefully in today’s series, I can offer some tips on how to possibly change that.

As a life coach in training, I get told regularly how powerful words are. I suppose I don’t need to highlight it any further as my assumption is that readers of my blog love books therefore are in love with language and words. I could be wrong but I’m going with this theory. 🙂

Have you read a book that made you think a certain way and because of that you started feeling particular way? You may not even realise you were thinking something; you may just remember those awesome feelings you had afterwards.

The gift of books is to bring us thoughts than can make us feel certain way. Some books do it “cheaply” and go for obvious joyful or tear-jerking moments, some do it in a more subtle way but ultimately, all books make us think and therefore feel.

So how does that relate to those dreaded reading slumps?

In my opinion, how we name such periods of time is critical as that is what is forming our thoughts. If I say I’m in a reading slump, I honestly start feeling dreadful. Because I’m thinking I’m in a slump and therefore that I’m failing. All of that thinking is causing me to feel miserable.

As a self-confessed “recovering perfectionist”, I often make such statements about myself; shame again – it’s not my actions that are failing but me as a person who is failing. Because I’m thinking I am a reading failure, I also start producing thoughts causing apathy such as: “what’s the point anyway”… and as a consequence, I start feeling even less like doing something about it. And it all started with an innocent word slump that I made into a story, which then made me feel certain way.

We are all different and for you, that word may not spin into a story I told myself above. If that is the case, please carry on using it. I’m not saying you shouldn’t. But if you can somehow relate to what I have just written, here are some strategies you could try to stop feeling that way:

1)      You could not use that word slump. You could use something that makes you think differently about this phase and that will serve you.

I use ‘I read less than previous month’ or ‘I don’t read this month’ sentences. They are factual. However if I add judgement to them such as: ‘I read less than before and I’m failing’ it stops serving me.

So I’ve done what many coaches do, and have used a technique that softens an impact of a sentence and prevents me to add my own judgement to it. In this case, the sentence is: ‘I read less than previous month, and that’s OK’.

Can you feel the difference as soon as you read it? I certainly can.

2)      You can make the negative ‘I read less than before therefore I’m failing’ thought more neutral via: ‘I read less than previous month but there are certain days of a month when I am reading’.

Once that one is digested, you can take it even further ‘I read less than previous month but I read on a few evenings every week’.

You are basically trying to make yourself slowly feel like a reader again… that technique is moving your thought of the ‘I’m a failed reader’ to the ‘I am still a reader’ thought. All done in a believable way, which is based on facts rather than judgement.

3)      Or you could put a positive spin to it and add judgement that will make you feel better.

Side note: this is sometimes difficult to execute as you kind of have to believe it to get on board.

In this case, an example would be ‘I read less than previous month, and I finally have an opportunity to do other things I have been putting on hold’.

For some people, this strategy may be initially too radical and the first step to take maybe to try points 1) and 2) instead.

Disclaimer: I am a big fan of Brooke Castillo’s The Life Coach School podcast. It’s for everyone who is curious to see what a self-coaching may look like. Brooke offers many extremely valuable and free insights and I adore her no no-nonsense, let’s have a frank conversation approach. These tips above were inspired by some of her podcasts. If you find them useful, I suggest checking her podcast out as well as she talks about other topics that some may find interesting.

I firmly believe that the language I use in my head to describe my actions has immense power. If I start judging myself in a way that triggers feelings of shamehurtapathyfear… then I am not doing myself any favours and the likelihood of me getting out of a reading slump is smaller. Why? Because as terrible as this sounds, thoughts of this calibre can be quite indulgent. Brooke Castillo did an entire podcast on Indulgent Emotions and I’m telling you, they honestly can be that way once we give them enough room to roam free, I know that from my own experience.

Writing another believable narrative in my mind has helped me personally. I feel better that way. I enjoy those periods when I don’t read as I have trained my mind using all three of those points above. It’s still difficult sometimes as unwanted thoughts pop in now and again. But being aware of them and either privately journaling or talking to my loved ones are some of my coping strategies.

And then there is this lovely bookish community as well that has brought me so much joy already. All you wonderful like-minded book lovers that can provide useful insights and that generally ‘get’ it. Sometimes knowing it’s not just me but other people are going through that as well brings me a lot of comfort. So thanks so much for being there, I am grateful for that.

I use this as an opportunity to pass it over to you guys. Let’s chat.

  • What do you THINK of reading slumps?
  • How do you FEEL during those?

Fancy sharing that with me? I would love to hear your thoughts and stories. Thanks.

26 thoughts on “Chitter-Chatter: How to Feel Better During Reading Slumps”

  1. Valid point actually!

    I don’t think the number of books read per month makes someone a reader or a non-reader. People who read books at all and consider it one of their hobbies are readers.
    It’s like me with colouring. Haven’t coloured anything since November last year, but still consider it one of my hobbies. Interestingly enough, i never declared that i’m in a “coloring slump”.
    Although come to think of it i don’t think i ever said i’m in a reading slump either. So i’m with you on this. When i read less, i was the only one who noticed it, so there was no need to put labels on it 😀

    If we really need to call it something, we can say “on a break from reading”… cuz everyone loves being on break, no? 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love your “on a break” option. I may start using it as well as it means hair down / fun time ahead.. and of course there’s that premise of a return / coming back from it. Love it! 😊

      In all honesty, I only realised there was such a thing as a reading slump when I joined GR… I had no idea beforehand.. interesting, isn’t it?

      And you are so right re. the numbers of books we read don’t define if we are or aren’t readers. It’s usually my critical self that is making that judgment. I’m getting a bit better at it. But like with everything, it’s a process. 😊

      TGI Friday! And have a great sunny ☀️ weekend. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yea, i didn’t know it had a name either! I remember my telling me for years that she just “can’t read anything”… like, can’t focus. Nothing is interesting. She’d be rather doing anything else than reading. I found it strange cuz she used to read a lot. I ended up giving her a Stephen King book (something she never thought she’s gonna read) and she was “magically cured”. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ha ha, that’s a great story! 👏
          Stephen King does have that ability. 😊 I adored his books but I haven’t read any of his books in years… planning on coming back to them again soon. 😊

          Liked by 1 person

  2. LOVE this post! Usually when I feel like I’m in a “reading slump” I try to allow myself time to get back into it naturally. Sometimes you just need a break, and that’s perfectly okay. I focus more on other hobbies, write more blog posts, or even listen to audio books as a way to try to get back into it without staring at pages all day. I’ve found that podcasts are a great in-between as well. Above all, though, I think it’s really important to not feel guilty about slumps–there’s nothing wrong with taking a break! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly Holly, once we start feeling guilty, we start feeling a bit worse.
      I love how you see it as a break. Because breaks really are there to recharge / refocus and to enjoy activities we normally don’t have time to do. It’s such a great attitude! 👏
      I’m about to start listening to non fiction audiobooks as I think that could work as well. I also, like you, enjoy podcasts, so I’m going to give audiobooks a try. I have bought “We should all be feminists” and I am really excited about listening to it soon. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such a fantastic post, Vera! For me, I know that the language is definitely correlated to how significantly a slump can affect me! I try to avoid negative thoughts about reading less, and instead try to create mini goals to help me get back on track for reading! Lovely post! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can see how mini goals can help Kelly. And I’m so glad you find language we use important as well.
      Sometimes these negative thoughts could be so hard-wired that we initially are not even aware of them (my experience). I think noticing them first and then gently and patiently redirecting them is something that helps me. Having little challenges would be fun to try, thanks for the suggestion.
      Happy reading! 😊📚❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Haha can I hire you as my life coach? ❤ I love this post because for one, it's so damn true. I can't say I have the problem of falling into a reading slump because I don't read a lot of new books anyway (I'm more of an avid re-reader) and I've never cared about what people think about my reading habits, but your take on how language defines our slumps is such an interesting point to make, and an important one at that: it comes down to not judging ourselves to anyone else's standards and as you make the point here, thinking positively. 🙂

    Terrific discussion as always (and a great reminder!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, thanks so much for your kind words. I am still an aspiring life coach (not fully qualified yet) so can not be hired but always happy to help or to chat for free – I mean it, please feel free to reach out if you ever feel like talking. 😊❤️
      I’m so happy you found this post interesting. And thank you for sharing your own experience – I love hearing how others view these periods. In the end, we are in this together. 😊 📚 ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m definitely going to check out that podcast! I’ve actually been thinking about a life coach recently but that’s a whole other story… 🙂 Totally agree with those who didn’t know what a reading slump was until joining Goodreads/blog community. It was always just that I wasn’t reading as much for whatever reason and that was fine. I need to get back to that mindset.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really hope you enjoy them. Brooke is very honest and has a really brilliant self coaching model. If you do check her podcast out, I would recommend listening to her first few episodes first as everything kind of takes from there.
      Indeed, the lovely GR / blog community, which I love to bits by the way, can sometimes trigger certain internal pressure in us. We are all in this together.
      Happy reading 📖 and have a great weekend. 😊


  6. Hi Vera,
    I think your post is absolutely wonderful and applicable. I think it applies to other things in life and not just reading slumps. I am going to share it so I can find it later to read again and again. Thank you very much. I don’t think of reading slumps as bad things. I think of it as an opportunity to focus on something else. For example, when I don’t want to read, I spend a couple days cooking or gardening or trying a new hobby. By the time I am tired of doing the new thing, I am ready to read again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for you kind words, I’m so happy it’s not just me who find these strategies useful. I really, really appreciate it. ❤️
      That’s such a great attitude to have Allie, I think if we see any of these periods as opportunities rather than failures we could learn so many new things / hobbies and thrive.
      I’m so glad you enjoyed this post. I really recommend Brooke’s podcast mentioned in the post, especially her first episodes. She is a great teacher and I love learning from her.
      PS. I enjoy both cooking and gardening. Both very creative and nurturing actives. I’m so happy you enjoy them as well. 😊
      PPS. My dog likes to dig and his idea of gardening and helping is different to mine. Hope Tank is more chilled than my Monty. 😂


  7. Thank you again for sharing my post!! ❤ And I loved Krysta and Norries posts 😀 This is such a fabulous post to do!! I think you put it in such a wonderful way and I never would have thought about it like this before. That's such a brilliant tip about not using the word slump or putting it in a negative way, cos I do find that when I say things in a more positive way I feel better about them. And I especially agree with #3 cos there's usually *a reason* why- and I feel like we do a disservice to ourselves not acknowledging that. Absolutely wonderful and inspiring post! I love your positivity! 😀 And I definitely want to check out Brooke Costillo's podcast now 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh that you so much for your kind words, all of those wonderful posts from all of you mean so much to me. Thank you! ❤️❤️❤️
      I personally feel that what we think is everything. It’s all about practice and it is a process though. Whenever I catch myself thinking something I now kindly tell myself: “well that opinion of yours is interesting but you do realised it’s “optional”, right?” I’m not always Miss Little Sunshine but I am slowly teaching myself to think the way that serves me and that I believe. And it’s hard sometimes and I do have many moments… Brooke Castillo says that an unmanaged mind is like letting a toddler run unsupervised with scissors.. in other words it could do us a lot of harm.
      If you check her podcasts, I really recommend starting with first few episodes where she talks about her model. I hope you enjoy it. 😊🍀


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