How to Get Out of a Reading Slump

My ruthless approach to reading you can adopt in 2024

Delaney Jaye


Note: Some links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you use them, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!

I am coming out of a multi-year reading slump.

It doesn’t feel good to say that, but if you’re in a similar boat right now, I hope it makes you feel less alone.

A slump brought on, in large part, because of yearly book challenges I set for myself. Let me explain.

Like many avid readers, I used to set a goal for the number of books I’d like to read by the end of the year. I always set it high enough that it was a challenge for me, but not so high that it was unattainable.

Here’s where I went wrong and how I fixed it.

Flawed Metrics: Why The Standard Yearly Book Challenges No Longer Work for Me

By measuring the number of books read each year as my main metric of reading success, here’s what happened:

  • I prioritized shorter books. If I have to read one book a week, a 200-pager is much more valuable than an 800-pager.
  • It made me look for easy reads. I love non-fiction books, but they take me a long time to get through compared to a captivating fantasy or thriller novel. On the same token, some of the most beautiful books are written in artistic prose. As Kimberly “Sweet Brown” Wilkins put it, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
  • I pushed through books I wasn’t enjoying. If I invested 100+ pages into a book, I told myself I had to finish it. It was the only way I’d hit my reading goal.
  • I still fell flat. Whenever I logged into Goodreads, it told me how far behind I was and what I would need to do to catch up. It was incredibly discouraging. Pair that with pushing through books I wasn't loving, and I pushed myself into a serious multi-year reading slump.

How I Think About Reading Goals Now

It took me quite a while to realize the impact these annual book quotas had on me because the change was subtle and gradual.

These problems grew in tandem with my reading goal deficit. They were small changes that completely shifted my reading preferences over time.