With this year’s first 24-hour readathon fast approaching, I thought I would dedicate tonight’s post to the event and give you some last-minute tips on how to get the most out of these 24 hours. I’ve experimented with a number of different things throughout my blogging years and, after 5 previous readathons, these are the nine most important things I’ve learned. Whether it’s your first time participating or you’re a fellow old-timer, I hope today’s post will help you achieve your goals and have a smashing readathon tomorrow.
1. Get a good night’s sleep
This one goes without saying, but try to get some rest before the readathon starts. Don’t stay up until 3 a.m just because you need to read “one more chapter” – you’ll have plenty of time for that once the event kicks off. For those of you who start in the late afternoon or in the evening (I’m looking at you, Japanese readers!): try to have a quick nap before your start time so that you’re feeling fresh and energised when the time comes.
2. Prepare your snacks in advance
Snacks are one of my favourite parts of the readathon. I’m ALL about the food.
Make sure to buy all your snacks in advance so that you don’t have to waste your time with grocery shopping. If you’re feeling more organised than I am – and if you eat less junk food than me – it’s also a good idea to prepare your lunch and dinner in advance. A lot of my bookish friends prepare theirs either the night before or in the morning, depending on which time zone they are in, so all they have to do later is to pop it in the oven or the microwave for a few minutes.
Also, something equally important: make sure to have a variety of snacks at hand. Something I learned during my very first readathon is that eating junk food – and literally nothing else – for 24 hours might sound like a good idea, but it is not. Always try to include some healthy snacks on your list. Whether it’s a bowl of fruit or some steamed / roasted vegetables with your lunch, it doesn’t matter. Just avoid eating chocolate and crisps all day. Believe me, it helps.
3. Choose short books
One of the biggest mistakes I made (and keep making) during previous readathons is chosing long books. (Note to younger self: this is not the time to read that 600-page classic you’ve been meaning to pick up for a few weeks.) It’s okay not to have a dozen books on your TBR pile – I don’t usually have more than 4 or 5 either. But try to select a mix of genres and lengths so that you don’t burn out in the first 6 hours. Always have at least one ‘light’ read in your pile – you’ll be thankful for it once you’re past the 10-hour mark.
4. Stay away from your computer
Another thing I noticed – and I know I’m not the only one who’s guilty of this – is that I tend to spend way too much time on social media, chatting to other readathoners, discussing snacks and how to stay awake instead of actually reading. Which is fine. And it’s probably one of the reasons why I love readathons so much. I’ve met some of my oldest bookish friends this way and, if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.
But. *holds up index finger*
As much as I love the social aspect of the event, it can get in the way of reading and by the time you realise, you’ve wasted two hours. So, to avoid this but still be able to join the Twitter discussion, I came up with a system that seemed to work for me so far. Namely, dedicate certain times of the day to blogging (i.e. updating your ‘readathon progress’ post, if you have one) and chatting on social media. I usually read for about an hour and a half or two, then have a break and check my social media mentions and update my blog. Once your ‘social media break’ is over, turn off your computer and focus on your book.
5. Get some fresh air
Something that might seem insignificant but is, in fact, very important is to get some exercise. Your eyes will need some rest after a couple of hours and getting some fresh air will help you concentrate too. Put down your book and go for a walk, a run, or just sit in the garden for a while. The change of scenery and fresh air will energise you and help you focus longer.
6. Change your reading spots
Changing your reading spots is also a good idea. I’ve always been guilty of staying in bed all day long but, just like point 5, moving to a different place after a few hours will help you focus more. Try reading in the garden for a while (if you have one and the weather’s nice), or just move to another room – it will help.
7. Stay hidrated
Make sure to drink plenty of water during the day – and be careful with caffeine. While it might seem like a good idea to drink 10 cups of coffee in order to stay awake in the early hours, it won’t necessarily make you feel any better. (In fact, it might have the opposite effect.) Try a variety of teas, smoothies or just water instead, and make sure to drink plenty of it.
8. Take some naps
Although the readathon lasts 24 hours, it doesn’t mean that you have to spend every single minute with your nose buried in your book. It’s OK to take naps and I honestly don’t know how I would survive the day without them. Even if you’re committed to do the whole 24 hours, take an hour or two off when you feel tired and relax for a bit. Your eyes will thank you for it later!
And most importantly, have fun with it.
The beauty of this readathon is that you’re not competing with anyone. Read at your own pace and don’t worry about others’ progress, because we’re all winners here. Just enjoy it.
Do you have any other tips you would like to share with fellow participants? Let me know in the comments below. 🙂