There are times when I read a LOT, and there are times when I get a few pages in every day. And then there are times when books collect dust on my nightstand. It can be frustrating to fall into a reading rut, especially because it’s something I really enjoy. I also love discussing books with friends, and I feel like a failure when I have nothing new to bring to the table!
This year has been a whirlwind (like, we’re nearly 25% through already, whatttt!) and it’s only now that I’m getting back into the habit of reading. I’ve had to rearrange my schedule a little bit to make it work, but it’s all leading to healthier habits anyway.
Because I slip into these ruts now and then, I do have some strategies to get back out of them. Here’s what I do:
ONE // Even though it sounds counterintuitive, I try not to force it. Of course, this particular point won’t work if you have required reading for school (sorry friends!). But it’s required reading that I try to avoid altogether when I’m pulling myself out of a rut. Outside of school, I think reading should be something enjoyable, not a chore. So if I’m not feeling it, I don’t want to read just to say I’m reading.
TWO // When I finally feel like I’m in the mood to read, picking up short books or ones that I 100% know for sure I am going to love is the way to go. Book #1 post-rut is not the time to pick up War and Peace. (Unless that’s your jam, in which case, go for it!) I keep a running list of books that sound interesting to me on my Goodreads account, and that helps me narrow in on something to read quickly!
THREE // While I typically have a stack of unread books ready to go in my apartment, going to a bookstore always reinvigorates my excitement for reading. I don’t know if its the colorful covers, the smell, or just the sheer volume of books. Even if I don’t buy a book while I’m in there, I come out with motivation to read!
FOUR // Now, this is one of my biggest pet peeves. When someone says that they “don’t have time,” they’re really just saying that it’s not prioritized. There is nothing wrong with not prioritizing something– that’s your prerogative! I fall into this all the time. When I say I don’t have time to read, I’m saying that I haven’t prioritized it. For example, in January/February, I barely read. But you better believe I watched way too many episodes of The Mindy Project every night. That was my priority, not books.
I had to break that habit if I wanted to have time to read at night– and I did want to start reading again. I used to do a lot of my work at night. I still do a big chunk of work from about 5 pm and onward, but I push myself to wrap up before 9:30. I give the dogs one last walk, then get ready for bed, and finally climb into bed by ten so I can read! It took about a week of being home every night (and not traveling) to make it stick. So far, so good.
Do you have tips for getting out of reading ruts?! They’re always so frustrating! So I’d love to hear what you do!
If you’re looking for good books right now, I’ve recently finished three. All of which I recommend for getting back on track for reading, too.
When God Winks at You | One of my friends from Tampa sent this book to me, and it was the perfect short read. It has a similar feel to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, which I have always enjoyed. It’s a little religious, but I feel like you can swap out the word “God” for whatever speaks to you. The message was just what I needed to read, though. It’s all about “coincidences” or godwinks in your life and what they mean. The book is filled with little stories of different kinds of godwinks.
Behind Closed Doors | I don’t know why I’m so obsessed with this kind of books, but I am. I can’t get enough! This one is about the perfect couple that really isn’t so perfect. I didn’t love the book at first, but sure enough, I was staying up way too late to read just five more pages. If you liked Gone Girl, I think you’d enjoy this one too!
Things I Should Have Known | This is technically a young adult book. It has all the key characteristics of teen lit (popular girl dating the popular guy, lunchroom drama, angst), but the plot is still pretty unique as it follows sister and brother pairs navigating high school, dating, and family life with siblings with autism.
What books have you been reading lately?