I have always struggled with mood reading. There were books that I got excited to jump headlong into, only to find that I was not enjoying them because I was not in the mood to read them. They were not what I needed at that moment. And unfortunately, I have DNF’d more than a few because I was turned off of them, through no fault of their own. I didn’t know! I wasn’t self-aware enough to understand my own brain and what it needed in those moments.
If anyone has ever experienced a craving before, more often than not, it’s because your body is telling you what it needs. Especially for those of you who experience major hormonal shifts on a regular basis, you understand the desperation of needing something sweet or salty (or murder) at that moment more than you need air.
Just like my brain knows what type of movie it needs to watch. I need something sad, or happy, or I need to watch someone decapitate something. Well I am starting to understand that when I start to read a book, and I am just not feeling it, it is not necessarily because I am in a reading slump or the book isn’t good; it may be because that is not the kind of book that I need at that time.
I came to this conclusion this morning as I was explaining my current struggle to read Does It Hurt? By HD Carlton. This is a dark romance containing sharks, blood and some seriously aggressive spice, and that’s within the first 60 pages. I like dark romance, and I like HD Carlton, and I really thought I was going to like this book. Yet, I am struggling to get through it.
However, when I sat and reflected on the things that have been bringing me joy lately, I noticed something. I just finished reading Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score. A small town romance, with picturesque cottages, family values and spicy, consensual, moderately romantic sex. And when I am scrolling TikTok, my FYP is overflowing with country farmhouses during sunset, lush green fields overlooking the sea and giant oak trees with rope swings swaying in the warm breeze. Are we seeing a theme? Because I did!
My brain doesn’t want crazy shark-infested ocean sex. It wants alpha cowboys, ravishing their female main characters before proposing on horseback. That’s not to say that I won’t want aggressive spice next week, but right now, I am not feeling it. So I need to put down the shark porn and try again later instead of forgetting it forever. Because I mean, c’mon. How cool does shark porn sound?
That being said, when I came to the conclusion about my book cravings, I tried to look at my writing through the same lens. I have been struggling for a few days to make progress with my mafia, abduction romance. Perhaps my brain does not want to write about a mobster’s ex-girlfriend who gets abducted by a sexy private eye because she discovered sinister information about the mafia boss who has been controlling her for years.
So this morning, I revisited an old story about a writer who discovers a beautiful library in a small town and decides to use it as her home base as she writes her next novel. While she labours within its walls, she fails to notice the gorgeous librarian who becomes fascinated by her. Now doesn’t that sound a little bit more romantic and exactly my speed for the moment?
So if you are ever struggling through a reading slump or having difficulties with a perceived writer’s block, sit back at try to look inwards. Are you craving sugar or salt? Are you feeling romance or action? Do you need a cowboy or a psychotic marine biologist? These are the types of questions you may want to ask yourself before you DNF a book or throw your computer in frustration.
Now that I am done ignoring my work, I will go back to my hot librarian.
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