Let’s Talk About Reading Slumps.

tbrAs a book lover who obviously follows other book bloggers and vloggers on Twitter, one of the most common tweets I see is something along the lines of, “Help! I’m in a reading slump!” And of course, I completely understand. We’re the type of people who tend to devote every spare moment we have to reading. Hell, we even take time out of our lives to plan, film, and edit videos of ourselves alone in a room talking about books. So when we’re faced with those moments when no book can keep our interest, it’s can feel kind of horrible. In fact, I personally find myself getting legitimately anxious if I go a few days without reading; I feel like I’m letting down some almighty literary force driving my intense interest in books.

For these past couple weeks, I’ve been in the worst reading slump I can remember, and I’m sure there’s a lot that’s contributing to it. 1. I just can’t seem to find a book I want to read. 2. I’ve had a lot of school projects that demand a lot of focus. And 3. In about two weeks, I’m graduating from college.

So instead of getting in bed after a long day and reading until I fall asleep, I’ve been shutting off the lights and laying there for at least an hour, worrying about life and about my future. And the added pressure of knowing I’ll soon have to film an April wrap-up after only finishing two books doesn’t make me feel much better. In other words, it sucks.

But then the other night, amidst all this worrying, I started thinking about the dreaded “reading slump”, which is essentially a phrase coined by people who talk about books on the internet. Meanwhile, in the greater realm of society, taking a couple weeks off from reading probably isn’t a big deal. In fact, it’s something I’m guessing most people don’t even consciously think about. So why, then, does it stress me out so much when I don’t feel like reading?

At the end of the day, reading is a hobby. It’s something I love to do. With the exception of school-assigned reading, it’s not something that should ever stress me out; it’s something that should do exactly the opposite.

So while I understand why people use the term “reading slump” (and, obviously, I’m guilty of using it myself), I don’t like how it is most often followed by some sort of excuse, like “I’ve had a lot of work to do” or “I’ve been out socializing instead”. Both of those are perfectly acceptable reasons. In fact, any reason is perfectly acceptable. Even as BookTubers and book bloggers, it’s entirely our decision what we read and when we read it. We shouldn’t feel any sense of obligation to our viewers, our readers, or even ourselves, because if we start forcing ourselves to read, eventually it’ll stop being fun.

So from now on, I’m going to make an active effort to stop using the term “reading slump”. Instead, I’ll try to remind myself that there’s nothing wrong with going a couple days, a couple weeks, or maybe even a couple months without avidly reading. Reading is entirely personal and psychological, and no one, not even yourself, should make you feel guilty about your reading habits (or lack thereof).

Share your thoughts in the comments!

Ali

Advertisements

20 Days To Go: Thoughts from an About-To-Be College Graduate

For the past few weeks, I’ve found myself unable to read any of the five books of which I’m in the middle, write any blog posts, or even watch any TV shows (besides Game of Thrones because I’m too afraid of being spoiled on Twitter). In fact, I haven’t been doing much of anything besides schoolwork, unsuccessfully searching for jobs, and worrying about what happens after May 10th. For those of you just tuning in, May 10th is the day I graduate from college and begin my life in the real world I thought I entered four years ago when I graduated high school. Spoiler alert: I didn’t.

Throughout the past four years, whenever I’ve said anything about college being difficult, I’ve been hit with the ever-present “just wait until you graduate and have to go out and be a real adult” response. Of course, as a college student, I was confident that this was the real world. Now, I’m quickly coming to terms with the sheltered bubble that is college life and realizing exactly how much I would give for just one more semester to sort out my life.

Because now I’m starting to reconsider my choice in degrees.

Because all those people who told me “you can’t do anything with an English degree” are starting to make a lot more sense.

Because I don’t think I’m smart enough or assertive enough to put my political science minor to use.

Because I keep telling myself “I should probably move somewhere like New York or Boston or even freaking London” even though I can’t even process how overwhelming it would be to move to a major city without the comfort of a college campus to come home to.

Because the idea of going to real job interviews terrifies me.

Because the idea of trying to convince anyone other than myself that I’m a good writer seems laughable.

Because I’m under the impression that all my friends have definitive plans even though I know that isn’t the case.

Basically, to sum it up: last night I was laying in bed after being completely exhausted all day and suddenly I was wide-awake. I thought about my time abroad in London last semester and how much I loved everything about it, and the only thing I could think was, “I should’ve done an internship” even though I knew 100% that I wanted to immerse myself in a university setting. I thought about this semester and how much I got involved on- and off-campus: I juggled a full course load, an internship, a part-time job, and an editor position on my school paper. However, all I could think was, “I should’ve done more”.

I know, I know. There’s only so much you can do in one semester. Loads of people leave college without knowing what they want to do. Not everyone has a job lined up before they graduate. Things will come together eventually. These are the things I keep telling myself, but it doesn’t make it any easier. I know I’m being pessimistic. I know it could be a lot worse. I know that if I have to, I can stay at my part-time job a little bit longer while I find something more permanent.

But naturally, it wouldn’t be like me not to worry. I guess what surprises me is that less than two weeks ago I was totally fine. This all started to hit me really recently and has consumed my thoughts to the extent that I completely forgot that this Friday is my 22nd birthday. I love birthdays, but my thought process has become, “how can I have fun and celebrate when I still don’t have my life together?”

As a disclaimer, I didn’t write this to stress you out. I didn’t write this because I think I have it any harder than any other soon-to-be college grad. I wrote this because this is prominently a book blog and this is what has been diverting my attention away from thinking and talking about books.

That being said, I think I’m going to make this a series. This is my “20 Days To Go” edition, and I’ll try to post an update every couple days on what I’m thinking.

And of course, if you have any advice, I would absolutely appreciate it. Stay strong, fellow grads!