Saturday, September 22, 2018

Readers' Block and How to Vanquish It

We all know what writers' block is (though its existence is up for debate right now). But have you ever heard of readers' block? Chances are you've experienced it, and it's no fun.

Do you ever sit down to read a book and get nowhere? Maybe it's a book you were previously enjoying. Or maybe you start three different books and still can't get anywhere. You're dutifully trying to read, but it's a sudden struggle.

Worst. Feeling. Ever.

I call this readers' block: the sudden inability to enjoy reading. Because it's not that you can't read. There's just nothing going for ya. And like with writers' block, sometimes it's a good idea to push through and other times it's not.

I've been dealing with readers' block a lot lately, and I've learned one main thing: all it takes is a really good book.

That's it! I've only ever gotten out of readers' block by finding a book that wholeheartedly captured my interest. One that I looked forward to reading and knocked out quickly.

And while that sounds so simple, any of you who have ever felt this way know that the very nature of readers' block makes all books less interesting

Isn't that weird? (Answer: yes, it's a tragedy.)

That being said, you don't need just any mediocre book. You need a kind of book that's been known to capture you in the past.

So while this will probably look different for you, here are a few book characteristics I look for when trying to pull myself out of the slump:
  • easy-to-read writing // I enjoy Dickens and Shakespeare, but this is not the time to start one of them. Give me some straightforward 21st-century writing!
  • an engaging main character // I have to care about the main character a lot to get myself out of a reading slump. So he/she needs to be entertaining, mysterious, relatable ... compelling in some way!
  • a vivid setting // I'm 10x more likely to connect to a book in a vivid setting. This doesn't mean it has to be a beautiful vividness, but there has to be that world-painting nonetheless.
  • sprinkles on top // whether it be a plot twist, a well-done romance, a scene of drama, or something that makes me emotional ... yeah, that takes the book that much further.
  • bonus points // some personal favorites like humor, Christian themes, multiple POV, hints of tragedy, and self-sacrifice.
Again, your list will probably look different than mine, and that's perfectly fine! But I've found that knowing what I like has helped me work around bouts of "all books are boring." Because we all know that's not true. ;)

Does such a book exist, you ask? Yes, yes it does.

A few that have worked their magic on me in the last few months are:
Yes, I bypassed those times when we have no choice but to subject ourselves to a particular book. Lots of things here depend on preference and circumstance. Sometimes you should perhaps take a break from reading all together.

But when at all possible, I've learned to stop reading if the book doesn't capture my interest. Sometimes the disinterest is on my part and not the book's. So don't be afraid to hold out for that awesome read that will cleanse your reading taste buds and allow you to revisit less glamorous (but hopefully equally rewarding) reads.
What books have helped you get out of the depths of despair?

P.S. I scheduled this post in advance, but am currently frolicking about NYC with a notebook in one hand and a (phone) camera in the other. Can't wait to tell you all about it!


  1. I think I'm going through reads block right now. 😑 I didn't even know there was such a thing. So thank you for the post! I think I've got a book, so I'm going to start reading again.

  2. Reading slumps are THE WORST. I had a terrible one mid-last year and literally every book I tried just seemed so terrible and boring and I couldn't find a book to hold my attention longer than five minutes. >.<

    1. YESSSSS ugh. I have this panicked "what if I don't like reading anymore?!?!?" every time, but then I remind myself it's happened before. I still want to die though. So miserable!

  3. Recently I hit reader's block. Why? I was trying to read an adult fantasy but couldn't get through a lot of it. Now, I think I'm getting out of it but I think it's because I need to return some books to the library soon. Heck, I need to return some books to the library and get them back again. I'm also behind on my Goodreads challenge so that sucks.

    1. Ugh all the deadlines and goals and such do NOT help me with. I love Goodreads to keep track of reviews and recs and such. But I'm such a mood reader that I have to find a better balance for myself. ;) I'd definitely recommend trying a different genre to get yourself reinterested!

  4. haha, now this I stand by! I believe that writer's block doesn't exist. But this . . . I've felt it way too much. As for books that have pulled me out of it? The Give series, deep books that want encourage me even while leaving me sad at the end. Right now I'm reading A thousand Perfect Notes by CG Drews, and I feel if I were to be in Reader's Block that book would really pull me out!

    I really love this post and will be linking to it in a future post of mine about reading books :)

    1. Ahhh, I feel so official that you approve of this and not writer's block xDD Cool! I keep hearing about Cait's book, so I'm going to have to try it?!

      Aww you're the best ^.^ I want to say that I'm glad you found it relatable ... but really, who would I wish this curse upon? ;P


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