How To Overcome Your Reading Slump – The Wizard’s Way

By JoshuaMacDougall on

About JoshuaMacDougall

Joshua graduated from St. Joseph's College on Long Island, NY with a B.A. in English Literature. In his free time, he is a dungeon master for a 5th edition game, writes fantasy fiction, and reads as many books as he can. @FourofFiveWits on Twitter.

 

Perhaps you, the humble wizard, are deep within the stacks of the archives, but when it comes to those tomes on the arcane arts you’re having a hard time of it. You’ve been pouring over glyphs, runes, and cryptic dead languages trying to brush up on your school of magic. While you examine those dusty old scrolls your eyes are glazing over forcing you to start from the beginning all over again. You’re one of your masters top apprentices yet that you can’t seem to get polymorph quite right. What you are in is a reading slump. Every time you open your spellbook it is as if someone has placed the sleep spell upon you. Your adventuring party needs you to perfect counterspell before you take on the Warlock King of Mayhem Mountain but you fidget and squirm whenever you try to copy it in your spellbook. How will you get over this reading slump? What can you do to change it? Here are five paths any wizard can take to dispel this slump.

1. Change Your Environment.

Sure, your master’s tower is full of ancient books on all the spells you need but sometimes you need to get out of that drafty tower and see the light of day. If you haven’t learned to Teleport yourself find another spellcaster willing to get you out of there or even a druid to let you travel by tree to a place out of your comfort zone. Fill that Bag of Holding with all the scrolls you’ll need and gather at the local tavern. Enjoy the atmosphere but make sure to avoid that pesky quest-giver trying to sending you on an adventure. So you’ve always wanted to visit the ancient tomb of the lord of the undead? Bring your book on the School of Transmutation with you. The point is it may not be what you’re reading but where you’re reading it. Sure, you’ve got free room and board because you saved the innkeeper’s son but sometimes you need to Planar Travel before you can really get in that reading groove. A new environment, whether it’s in the dwarven kingdom beneath the mountain or the mudhole village you grew up in, can bring new perspective and atmosphere that may allow you to concentrate.

2. Try Something New

You’ve been studying the School of Illusion for quite some time but maybe it’s time to switch it up. It can’t hurt to have some other spells in your repertoire when traveling upon the road. Pick up that tome about evocations or conjuration and you just may find yourself with a new zest for reading. A bit of change is all your reading habits need. Sure, you’re proficient in arcana but maybe find the local thieves guild and get a pamphlet on how to pick locks. What if instead of trying so hard to create a simulacrum you decide to study the gods that influence your world? Surely, it can’t help to brush up on your knowledge of Tiamat or Baphomet. You never know when those cultists are going to rise up again. You may even find once you’ve learned the difference between an owlbear and a bugbear that book on how to cast Animate Objects may feel fresh again. Just steer clear of graveyards and the sort of literature necromancers like to delve into.

3. Disconnect.

You’re a wizard, you’ve got a busy life, and every time you pick up that tome your master said wasn’t supposed to be taken out of his tower you feel the need to scry on the lich you and your party are hunting making sure to keep yourself updated. Divination is useful but if you’re constantly distracted by your crystal ball or pool of water it’s no wonder you’re never getting any reading done. Perhaps you need to get out your Bag of Holding and put your Scrying tools away. Don’t worry about what your familiar is doing and worry more about if you’ll be able to Polymorph that Adult Red Dragon that has been stalking your party through his lair. You don’t have the eyes of a Beholder so you need to focus instead of letting these distractions in your life keep you from getting your reading done.

4. Read with a Friend
You don’t have to read alone. Reading doesn’t have to be a solitary experience at the top of a wizard’s tower on another plane of existence you can only get to via teleportation circle behind a secret bookcase in the library of your family estate, no matter what your master says. Find someone interested in learning the same school of magic as you on the same level and make a day of it. You could learn the verbal components and them the somatic then get together when your party has settled down at the inn and discuss. The lost history of your world found in the temple of a god doesn’t have to be lost anymore when you decipher it with a friend. Maybe a fellow wizard as a favorite book they can recommend to you that will snap you out of that slump.

5. Give Yourself a Break.

There is no shame in taking a break. Set that scroll aside and focus on other things in your life. Spend some quality time with your fellow party members. Help your Paladin buddy destroy the unholy vampire that killed her brother, decipher the treasure map your Rogue stole from his dead partner, keep your Warlock and your Sorcerer from killing each other without lecturing them about how much better Wizards are than either of them. Give yourself some time away from reading and you may find that when you come back to it it feels exciting again. It’s okay to stop and take a breather, find out what happened to your missing father, figure out what that glowing crown you found in the sarcophagus is about, get your Druid some ointment to take care of those mushrooms in their beard.

The way society is now you’re expected to have mastered Lightning Bolt before you even really got the chance to use Magic Missile. You don’t have to keep everyone updated all the time via Message on how many books you’ve gotten through. The fact you’re reading at all is a good trait to have. Even if you’re not reaching the goals you’ve set for yourself such mastering all the first level spells you can find and copy them into your spellbook you’re still a Wizard. Reading is fundamental to mastering the arcane arts but it should also be enjoyable. Sure, that devil from one of the Nine Hells swore his revenge upon you and your party but you’ve got this. Maybe go back to the spells you already know in your spellbook and remember why you loved reading in the first place. As long as you have your Paladin around or local Cleric in the nearest temple you have nothing to worry about. Come back to reading when you’re ready.

Follow Joshua MacDougall @FourofFiveWits on Twitter

All dice and dice tray purchased from Die Hard Dice.

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