I recently discovered that the concept of Reader’s Block is a thing, and I was curious to learn more; and I thought we’d explore this idea together.
Let’s talk about it!
What Exactly Is Reader’s Block?
The phase Reader’s Block is attributed to The Guardian journalist Stuart Jeffries whose definition is “a difficulty readers encounter due to the pressure they feel to read critically-lauded or canonical books, even when they don’t enjoy them.”
I also found another definition by another writer who stated that Reader’s Block is “an overwhelming urge to read all the books but can’t concentrate on any of them.”
Both are interesting definitions and ones that do makes sense. Still, the second one accurately describes how most avid readers feel at least a few times a year. There are so many books and only so many hours in a year to dedicate to reading them.
I have had what I would consider Reader’s Block, but my definition differs from the two above. Sometimes I have blown through a great book in a few days, only to have difficulty finding another book to read that grabs like the previous one. So I jump from book to book, trying to find another novel that hooks me like the last one.
When you can’t find a book that hooks you immediately and reading starts to become a chore and not enjoyable is when I feel you have Reader’s Block.
I read a lot, and when you get on a good run of books, you can easily get a Reader’s High. But when you hit a wall, and you can’t engage with a book – for whatever reason – it can be frustrating being unable to focus and get back into that mindset.
Defeating Reader’s Block
If you find yourself with any of these forms of Reader’s Block, don’t panic. Everyone has stuff going on in their lives that can make focusing on reading more difficult. So, let’s look at ways to overcome this not-so-dire problem.
Take a Break
Even if you are working on reading a certain number of books by the end of the year, take a few weeks off from reading. I’ve done this after reading a really good book in a short time. It gives your mind time to process what you’ve read and can help you make an easier transition to the next book.
Stick with the Familiar
Don’t want to take a break but still having trouble? Stick with the same author or genre. This will keep your momentum going, and if you like the author, you know you’ll have a great experience with the next book.
Re-Read Your Favorite Book
Have a favorite book? Pick it up again and re-read it. You’ll probably get something different out of it the second or third time, plus it’s a book you know you enjoy.
Switch Things Up
Or, you can shift your focus. I like to alternate between fiction and non-fiction books each time to read different genres and real-world topics.
If these ideas don’t work, check out the articles below for further ways to overcome Reader’s Block:
While Reader’s Block isn’t the end of the world, it can be frustrating to deal with if you’re an avid reader. By taking small steps to resolve the problem, you can defeat this enemy of literary enjoyment and get back to what you love most: the written word.
Have you ever had Reader’s Block? How did you fight through it? Leave a comment and let me know!
Happy Reading, and I’ll see you next time!