What To Do When You’re Stuck in a Reading Rut

So you might have heard me mention in the past couple of PubCrawl podcast episodes that I’ve been in something of a reading rut and I haven’t really read anything new in the last month. This isn’t that unusual; reading, like so much else in my life, comes and goes in phases. When I am researching for a book, I read voraciously. While I am drafting or else working on writing, I cannot. I am, by nature, a feast or famine sort of person.

But reading ruts feel slightly different. I don’t feel like reading because I’m working or my mental space is otherwise occupied; I just don’t feel like reading period. For someone who reads as much as I do (after all, I used to read for work), reading ruts usually come with a lot of guilt. I should be reading! I should have read this new novel already! I should finally get around to reducing my TBR! I should, I should, I should.

Last year I wrote about shutting off auditory media and allowing myself to re-discover boredom. I am oversaturated with media in my daily life, and I think my reading rut might be a defense mechanism against overstimulation. I talked a little bit on my review of The City of Dreaming Books at my blog about feeling like I’m overwhelmed by the emotional space needed to care about books. It’s not that I don’t like caring; it’s just that those emotional muscles are tired and need a break.

Usually when I’m in a reading rut, I cast about for some way to break it. Maybe this book will do it, or this one, or this one. What usually ends up happening is I end up with a string of Do Not Finishes when I try and force it. This time, I’m going to ride this reading rut out and try not to stress about it. If I don’t feel like reading, I don’t feel like reading. Because when I’m ready to pick up and immerse myself in a book again, books will always be there. They aren’t going anywhere.

What about you? Do you guys force yourselves out of reading ruts or just ride them out? Do you even get reading ruts? (Some people I know don’t!) Sound off in the comments!

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Finding the Emotional Power of Your Story World (With the Help of Harry Potter)

As some of you may know, I recently completed a three part series of posts about what to do before you start writing. While many of you responded well to the series as a whole, there was one thing many readers wanted me to touch on even more: Story World, especially when it comes to fantasy. Just to refresh, in the series I explained the Story World as the spaces your characters inhabit, paying particular […]

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Violence in YA

The other day I was having a conversation with a high school Teacher Librarian and she mentioned that her students are not into violent books, but they are fine with books like Hunger Games and Game of Thrones, both of which are pretty violent. This lead us to start considering whether we are somehow classifying violence differently in different genres, and I realized that this is definitely true of me. Don’t get me wrong- I’m […]

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Post-Contract Schedules

There’s a ton of information out there about life pre-contract—how to query an agent, how to revise with critique partners, etc, etc. But life post-contract can be a little harder to research. Recently, we got an email from a reader with a few questions about scheduling after you’ve sold a book. The short answer is: It really varies. Let’s break it down by question! How long do you get to write the first draft and […]

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