Coming back from a reading slump: How to delve back into the world of books

What happens when the world of infinite opportunities becomes hard to get back to?

Coming back from a reading slump: How to delve back into the world of books

Aleiya Hardy, Politics Editor

Nothing is more exciting than getting immersed into a new world, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Being able to escape all worries and responsibilities in the real world and replace it with action, comedy, romance, etc., is unforgettable. 

When I was younger reading was my favorite thing to do and I could easily spend hours focused on the piece of literature in front of me. I never struggled with starting a book or getting engrossed in the plot. It was nice because it was my little thing. I found a lot of comfort in reading because I was really shy, introverted and anxious as a kid. Reading was a great way to take a breath of fresh air. 

As I grew up, that all slowly disappeared. Something that once was easy to do became more of an afterthought. Don’t get me wrong I still love to read but it’s harder for me to get into. I tend to put it off, and when I finally start a book focusing is more of a challenge. So I read at a much slower pace and it can take me up to months to finish a story. Or I’ll start a story and then not finish it at all. I think I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself to read certain pieces of literature even if it’s not something I really want to read. At that point reading is no longer fun. 

No matter how hard it gets, I’ll always try to keep reading. But I would love to get back to reading as much as I did as a kid. The goal is figuring out why I’ve developed a reading slump and how to combat it. 

After doing some much needed soul searching and causal research, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are a few different factors that have caused this predicament. Firstly and probably most obvious, social media. When I was younger I had a Nintendo DSI and tablet to play games on. I didn’t have the influence that social media can put on a person. My attention span has depleted tremendously because of social media. I don’t have to pay attention for a long period of time because most things on social media are short videos and photos – it’s fast paced – there is so much to see in a small period of time. With reading, it takes time for the plot to build and unfold. You have to be patient and stick with it. I’m coming to the realization that my phone has made it harder for me to do that. Eventually I can rebuild that attention span, but getting there can be troublesome. 

Not to mention, as a kid I feel like I had more time to participate in activities for fun. For me, at least, there was never any pressure to be the absolute best at something or to have it be my entire life. My hobbies were always things I wanted to do and excel in because I had a passion for them. But, with so much of my future relying on extracurriculars and hobbies I feel anxious and forced to read. It no longer feels like something I want to do because I love it, but something I must do to succeed. When you stop doing something for yourself it’s easy to lose passion for it. And it doesn’t help that I have other responsibilities to worry about. I’m so focused on making sure I fulfill those responsibilities that I neglect the things I like to do. It was easier to be more carefree as a kid because I didn’t have so much to consider. 

I need to realize that things are never going to be as easy as when I was a kid. There are expectations and obligations I  need to fulfill now as a young adult. Leaving time to do the things I want to do is even more important now. Taking each day to read a few pages of a book can be a great way to stay consistent. Even if that means only reading a little bit, that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with reading slowly because at the end of the day there is no rule-book on how to read properly. 

Also social media can be tricky. It’s easy to get sucked in without even realizing and before you know it, it’s the only thing that brings you joy…or so you think. I have to learn to manage my time. I don’t need to be on social media all day long. I’m not missing anything if I put my phone down for a few hours. If anything it can be detoxing from absorbing so much. That can be the time when I read. And I should no longer feel obligated to read certain pieces of literature to be perceived as smart or intelligent.

Read whatever you like and never feel ashamed of that. Reading should feel like freedom not a chore.

Changing my habits and growing is not going to be easy, but honestly what is in life? The most important thing is allowing myself to grow. Change does not have to be a bad thing and when it comes to reading, it’ll never be the same as it used to. This reading slump is not going to go away on its own. I have to be willing to push myself and not put myself down for not being as perfect as I think I should. Changing my mindset on reading and learning to cherish its value is something I will work hard to achieve.