It’s been a while since I’ve done a discussion post (read my previous discussion post ‘Book Hype: is it ever worth it?” here) and recently I’ve been struggling with motivation to write, so thought I’d kick back and take it easy with a discussion post. And today, I want to talk about how goddamn hard reading is, because I feel like it’s something we just don’t talk about enough in the book community. Each month book bloggers, YouTubers, TikTokers and Instagrammers share their wrap-ups having typically read 5-15 books, portraying reading as an easy and chill pastime, but there’s a reason why most people I know don’t read regularly: IT’S HARD.
Even for a regular and seasoned reader, reading isn’t easy. It’s an ongoing challenge for me that requires high levels of energy, commitment and planning. It also constantly feels like I’m falling short of my goals and lacking in motivation and consequently not enjoying reading as much as I should. This year in particular has just been so MEH for me so far with reading and has become very challenging because of that. These days I find myself spending more time thinking about difficult reading is than actually reading 😂
Generally, reading requires so much time, motivation dedication and attention from a reader over a prolonged period of time. In that way it’s like any other hobby but I feel like reading doesn’t get the same recognition as for example playing a sport does. A sportsperson requires physical strength, skill and stamina, they need to commit to attending practice, strive to continue improving their technique and be mentally resilient. Physical strength aside, on a basic level reading requires all of the same things that playing sports does. Reading is a skill; one that needs to be practiced and honed over time, there are techniques one can develop to support their reading and boy oh boy, does it require a f*ck tonne of mental resilience. So although anybody that’s literate can pick up a book and read that doesn’t mean it’ll be easy or that they’ll retain what they’ve read or even enjoy it, because that’s much harder to achieve than the basic act of reading a text.
There’s little appreciation for how much is required to actually pick up a book every single day, read it, process it, engage with it and retain it. Before someone even reads a book thought has to be given to which book to read, and spoiler alert, there are A LOT of books out there to choose from. We talk about “choice paralysis” on streaming platforms like Netflix, but with books it’s an entirely different level. A quick Google search estimates that there are around 170,000,000 books in the world based on data from 2019 🤯 So even before you’ve attempted to read, the process of just choosing a book can be a challenge!
The proof is in the pudding when it comes to how challenging reading is, because so many (if not all) readers regularly experience reading slumps. There are hundreds of posts and videos online giving book recommendations and general advice on how to avoid slumps (you can read mine here) and the reason for that is because reading is hard. That’s literally the reason why I also did an entire series (check out the Breaking into Books series here) for new readers that focuses on the in-depth processes involved in becoming a regular reader. I know that for me reading slumps happen because I’ve lost energy, motivation and desire to read. That can be triggered by low mental health, being busy, reading a few books that have been duds, being distracted by other stuff (I’m looking at you Heartstopper 😂) and a million and one other things. But ultimately it comes down to the fact that (yep, you guessed it) – reading is hard.
This year so far I’ve read 14 books with an average rating of 3.36. It’s been a pretty slow and mediocre reading year so far which has been characterised by a lot of slumps and a general lack of joy in reading or motivation to read. I’ve been trying my hardest to find The Book (you know, the one that’s going to steal my heart and be a glittering 5 star read that pulls me out of my slump and restores my faith in books) and working to stick to my reading routine as best I can but it’s tough 😔
So I guess the point of this post is to say that no matter how much of a reader you are, how much you’ve read or typically read, whether you’ve been reading for years or have only recently started, if you’re struggling to find motivation to read or to meet reading goals or to just pick out a book to read, know that you’re not alone. Remember that reading is hard; it’s a challenging hobby to have and it requires its own unique skills and mental/emotional determination to make it a part of our daily/weekly lives. It doesn’t just happen and there are going to be times when it feels much harder than others. But no matter how hard reading is, the pleasure of reading is unmatched by anything else and it’s worth enduring and struggling through the slumps and demotivation to find that next magical read 🙌🏻
Stay safe, my lovelies and keep reading.