In the last 3 months or so I have reevaluated my reading habits. How much I’m requesting ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies), whether or not I want to plan out a TBR, participate in reading events, and specifically pertaining to this post, what it looks like for me to label a book as DNF (Did Not Finish).
If you’re anything like me, you hate to DNF books. Being excited about a book and then having it disappoint you is a terrible feeling. There is also the guilt factor when you feel you have an obligation to read the book due to many factors such as ARC deadlines, adhering to TBR schedules, buddy reads, and reading events. There are also plenty of other reasons to try and push through a book. Being a completionist, FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), and more can have a huge impact in our attitudes towards DNF-ing books. These are all valid and totally understandable. However, as I am reevaluating how and what I read I am realizing that it is not only okay, but really healthy to DNF books when not enjoying them.
In this post, I am going to talk about 3 reasons that have helped me to DNF the books I am not enjoying and move on to something new.
1) Reverse FOMO
I think a lot of people, including myself, don’t like DNF-ing books because we fear missing out. What if the book gets good? In fact, what if it could somehow become an all time favorite and stopping means we will never know for sure?
I think a great way to combat this is to think ahead (“Reverse FOMO”…..not sure if that even makes sense but I’m going with it🤷😂). In other words, think about this. What if that next book you pick up after you DNF is a favorite of favorites? What if, with our limited lives, you are able to read a favorite book because of the reading time you saved by DNF-ing your current read? Focus on the positives of what could be awaiting you instead of the negative possibilities of missing out. There are too many great books out there just waiting to be read and I know at least for me, my TBR would thank me.
2) Avoid Book Slumps
I don’t know about you, but I am a mood reader. As such, when I feel like I am forcing myself to read something I am not enjoying or not in the mood for because of FOMO, arc deadlines, what have you, it can easily send me into a book slump. Reading is a hobby meant to be fun and when I get too serious about it it can make me fall into a slump. Book slumps are very counter productive to the goal of reading as much as possible and enjoying as much as possible because they tend to, at least for me, make me not want to read at all or very little. DNF-ing an unenjoyable read can really help to avoid the dreaded book slump.
3) Mental Health
Ultimately, mental health is the most important factor and best reason to DNF. If you are starting to feel anxious, depressed, or anything like that due to reading a certain book, please take care of yourself and DNF. I have felt this way before and it is just not a healthy way to consume books. DNF-ing doesn’t mean you can’t pick up the book and try again another time, it just means that unfortunately the book you are reading is not for you at that time, That. Is. Okay.
At the end of the day, DNF-ing books will always suck. It is not fun. However, I can tell you from my personal experience that it is worth it. Often when I DNF it feels as if a weight of expectation and pressure has been lifted off of my shoulders. However, there is no one size fits all for reading preferences and experiences. I can’t tell you if these reasons will help you at all. I can only tell you that for me personally, embracing the DNF has enhanced my reading experience. It has allowed me to experience not only more books, but also more authors as I don’t worry as much about finishing a book when starting it. I just do my best to enjoy the ride, however long or brief it happens to be. I hope this article is able to help you enhance your reading experience as well.