Recently, I suffered from reader’s block. I wasn’t able to pick up a book and open it for months. I had no desire to read for different reason. My shelves are filled with a number of books that are very appealing, but my book libido had suffered burn out and when I would try to pick a book, nothing was working for me. As a blogger, I sometimes put myself in a place of feeling I must read book after book and with so many wonderful books releasing often, I start to feel stressed that I’ll never read them all. Well, duh. I won’t read them all, and it’s ludicrous for me to think I can, even though my reader’s lust says to cuddle up with that handsome cover. This feeling coupled with life tends to throw someone, like me, into a reader’s block. In my case, I started binge-watching. I binge-watched all six seasons of American Horror Story (IMDB) in a weekend and became BFFs with Amazon Prime Video for a plethora of movies. I can probably recite the prime time t.v. line-up if I try.
Many times, reader’s block happens for no apparent reason. It comes out of the blue even to those of us who have good relationships with books. My hyperactive book desire became hypoactive book desire very quickly and took me by surprise. I recognized the cause of my problem, which is the first step, as emotional because of various events around me at the time. They were affecting my desire to enjoy a book. I came to understand long ago that it’s okay to not read when the mood isn’t there, but the reading mood wasn’t there at all for months. Some of these weapons may be a bit unconventional but if you’ve suffered from reader’s block for one reason or another, maybe these five ways will help you, too.
- Increase your physical activity. Now, what does physical activity have to do with reading? It’s a well-known fact that exercise is good for the physical and emotional well-being. Sometimes, fatigue or depression can be the cause of reader’s block, and exercise releases those happy-happy-joy-joy endorphins. You don’t need to spend hours slogging it out on a treadmill. While you’re on the treadmill, have a book handy just in case. Yoga, with its calm and meditative nature, can increase mental and physical energy as well as release the worries or stress factors in your life. If you feel good, you’ll feel like doing something you love like reading.
- Form a habit and get plenty of sleep. It’s important to your mental and physical health to get at least seven hours of sleep a night. Now, that’s not always possible for me, but I do try because of my poor disposition if I’m lacking a little shut-eye. If you’re well rested, there are other things you can do to get back on the reading track and out of a reading slump: get on a regular schedule for bedtime and form a habit of picking up a book to read in bed. If you follow an erratic sleep schedule, you can still form that habit of having a book on the nightstand to read at least ten minutes to jumpstart reading again. When you’re well-rested, you feel like doing something fun and reading comprehension is improved. Not to mention just picking up that book for ten minutes before sleep is one small step toward reading again. One small step for a reader; one giant step for a bibliophile.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. People tire of reading book after book after book. It’s time to turn off the critical brain and find a light and fast paced book, perhaps something with humor. Leave the literary fiction that requires critical thinking for later. Maybe try an audiobook; let someone read to you for a change. The right narrator can transport you to another time and place and quickly slough that reader’s block away.
- Reconsider your reading space. Find a place where you feel comfortable to read. Make sure the lighting is adequate and that noise is limited. I tend to read on my couch with my feet propped up or in bed because of the comfort. I have a lamp over my shoulder in both places to provide the right light to avoid eye strain. If someone is watching the t.v. or has music on, ask them to turn it down. In my case, Lotto tends to whine and bark for my attention and wants to play. He’s like a small child in a lot of ways and sitting him on my lap while trying to read when the mood finally hit me didn’t work. So, I play with him until he’s ready to lay down, and then I can focus on my book. Take a warm bath and try reading while relaxed in the tub. Add some aromatic essential oils and light a few candles. The more relaxed and comfortable you are, the easier it will be to get back into reading.
- Remember why you love reading. Look at what your reading and why you’re reading it. Are you reading what you love or what you think you should love? Are you reading what others are reading, but it isn’t really your cup of tea? If reading feels like play, then you’ll connect and enjoy the book. At the end of the day, reading should be titillating. If you touch base with why you first felt joy in reading, it will sustain you and help you to work through your block.
You can live with low reading libido, but why should you? Reading can bring pleasure, heighten your experiences, and provide an escape when it’s most needed; so it’s worth trying to heighten your reading drive if it’s low. The first step is to recognize why and then commit. The good news is that there are steps you can take to rekindle your love affair with books, boost your book libido, and enjoy reading again.1