Book Related

Not Reading Is Okay Too

Have you ever had one of those days where you just don’t want to read? Or maybe it’s a week, or a month, or maybe years on end?

In the bookish community, we tend to refer to these as reading slumps. And we tend to hate them. We read posts or watch videos that give suggestions on how to get past this reading slump, we try to find books our brains will accept, we stress and worry about how we’re going to meet all the deadlines for reading that we’ve given ourselves.

But why? If we’re not in the mood to read, why are we trying to fight out way back to a place where we want to read? Is there a benefit to it, or is it just because we’ve said we’d do something and we feel that we will fail if we don’t do it?

Why do we never just take a break from reading?

I can hear your thoughts right about now. “I’ve got three ARCs that are due in the next month, and I need to get back into reading so I can do the reviews I promised!”

I’ve never gotten an ARC that didn’t give me a minimum three-week window in which to get a review up. Usually it’s a month – two weeks in either direction of the release date. And while I typically like to get a review up the day before a book is released, if I’m not in the mood to read it until closer to the date, I’ve still got some time.

Not to mention, I’m sure the people who sent you the book will understand. No matter how much it may seem like someone behind your favourite blog is a reading and posting machine, they’re still human. Publishers and humans are made up a humans too. They’re probably just as familiar with slumps as you are, and if you really weren’t able to get a review up in time, I’m sure they would understand (and if they don’t, then they’re probably jerks anyway).

Besides, are you really going to give a book a good review if you were struggling to get through it because you want to do something else the whole time?

So now that that’s out of the way, what’s the problem with taking a break from reading?

I did a four year degree in university, and over those years, I probably read six non-school books while actually at school. I would read in the summer, but I would only get through a book or two while actually studying. Why? Because I didn’t want to. Because reading is a hobby and forcing myself to do it is just going to make me hate it. When I graduated, I didn’t read anything at all for another six months. And then I read 40 books in six months and have continued a good pace since.

Taking that much time away from books didn’t mean I wasn’t a reader. It didn’t mean I would never go back to it. I just needed some time away. I had other things to do, and books just weren’t the priority. It took a while, but I made my way back, and I read 70 books in 2016.

The whole point of hobbies is that we do it because we enjoy it. We derive pleasure from the activity, and we want to do it. But if you force yourself to do something, it’s not going to be enjoyable anymore. So don’t.

Finished a book and aren’t keen on starting another? No worries! Go watch that show on Netflix, learn an instrument, lay on your bed and contemplate life, go for a walk, dance a jig, do whatever it is that you actually do want to do, and enjoy it. The books aren’t going anywhere. They’ll be there when you get back.

And honestly, I’ve found that if I don’t make a big deal out of not wanting to read, I find myself pulling another book from the shelf sooner than if I tried to force myself back into it.

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12 thoughts on “Not Reading Is Okay Too

  1. You are completely right. Quantity doesn’t equal quality, anyway, and I like to keep my hobby as a hobby, not as a job (considering I’m not even getting paid for it).
    It’s all about organizing your life, I think. For instance, if I know I won’t have a lot of spare time that week/month I will adjust my requests/deadlines accordingly. I also won’t go into NetGalley and go crazy over ARCs unless I know for sure I’ll have the time to read those books. And if that means rejecting review requests by authors/publishers too, then so be it.
    Sure, this is all easier said than done but once you turn it into a habit, it’ll come naturally to you.
    I have many days where I don’t read, and that’s fine. I have tons of hobbies and people offline that deserve the attention too. My advice is to just do what makes you happy and enjoy yourself πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, and that’s the thing too! This is a hobby, since most of us aren’t being paid for this. We already have jobs (or school), so we don’t need to have another thing to stress about.
      Sounds like you have a great system set up – that’s awesome! I try to pick and choose what I take on, which works most of the time. Gotta do more with your life than just read books!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t… But it sure makes it a lot easier πŸ™‚
        If your system works for you, great! Everyone is different and we all operate in different ways. Some tips are universal, though, and I try to get as many as I can πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post! I feel like there’s so much pressure on everyone to read that people forget that it’s totally okay not to! I’m really guilty at always telling myself I’m not reading enough or doing a good enough job with my review copies, but I’m also trying to tell myself it’s okay!! I recently had to post a review late for a pretty Big Name publisher and I was super nervous ahaha, but they were SO understanding. I feel like trying to force yourself to read can definitely have the opposite effect sometimes which is why I always try and take little breaks when I feel myself getting slump-y.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post! I got out of a very long reading slump just a few days ago, and I’m scared that my set uni reading will drag me back into it. πŸ˜”
    I think for me personally the reason I’m bothered by reading slumps is that I do want to read, always, I just can’t get myself to do it, and it makes me feel like I’m letting myself down and being lazy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post! I definitely needed this right now. I’ve been incredibly stressed out with uni recently and all I want is to sit down and read already but if I have a spare hour, I’m not likely to be reading. I’m not in a slump but more of a ditch that I’ve been shoved into due to responsibilities haha. This post made me feel better about not getting much reading done right now so thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad it helped! I’ve definitely been there, and it’s hard to read when you’ve got so many other things going on. Just do what you need to do – school’s more important than whatever books are cool right now. The books and the community will always be here when you do have time.

      Liked by 1 person

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