You know what really sucks?
Well, there’s a lot of things, and we seem to be experience all of them right now. But the thing that has been really annoying for me lately is this: being an author in a reading slump.
I love to read. Well, I did. And then we came to Washington. I discovered that eye-reading on the bus made me motion sick, in part because I was going into a really bad thyroid flare and didn’t know it; nausea was a 24 hr a day thing for several months. But then as I started working from home more, I just…stopped reading. I wanted to read. I just couldn’t seem to pick up a book or concentrate on it when I did, and two years later that feeling hasn’t gone away.
It’s only been in the past few months I’ve been able to pick up audiobooks again, but even that not at nearly the rate I was. I have to listen at a much slower speed, don’t get drawn into the stories as deeply, and just don’t get as interested in the subject or plot.
I don’t know what the cause is, but I’ve been hearing the same thing from lots of other people. Since the pandemic started, people who didn’t read a lot are suddenly bookworms, while those that devoured books suddenly can’t finish anything.
I suppose the obvious answer is some kind of mental health issue, except….I’m weird. Staying home and not talking to anyone has been GREAT for my mental health. I’m a massive introvert. Yes, I miss socializing and going to writing and knitting groups, living history and writing in cafes, but really…it hasn’t been that bad for me. I didn’t start getting antsy until around December 2021, and that was largely my SAD acting up.
I’ve tried all the usual suspects: Trying to read different formats, picking up an old favorite, trying something totally new that is supposed to be really immersive. Nothing really seems to help.
It’s so frustrating to be unable to enjoy something I once loved. Books got me through the hardest parts of my life. They bring me comfort, make me feel safe. In Off the Rails, Sophia Andrews regularly falls asleep with “the contents of an entire library” on her bed, and that is 100% me. Before we moved, it was not uncommon for me to fall asleep with a book or two, a notebook, and a knitting project on my bed.
Have you been struggling to read recently? If you got your mojo back, what did you do?
Like what you see? Check out Writing Under the Influence: Mental Health Mondays