Because 24in48 is both longer than and shorter than a lot of ‘thons out there, it can feel a little daunting to plan your weekend, and to make sure you’re optimizing your reading time without getting overwhelmed or without feeling rushed at the very end.
So here are 9 tips to help you prep for and execute your best readathon:
- Decide on a loose schedule. You certainly don’t have to stick by it to the letter, but its helpful to structure your weekend in advance. If you have set plans already – like a child’s soccer game or brunch – figure out how many hours you’ll need to read each day to hit your goal. And don’t forget to account for breaks; I like to set an hourly goal – like reading for two hours – and then allowing myself a ten or 15 minute break for Twitter or stretching my legs, among other things.
- Fill your readathon TBR with short books. This is not the moment to start reading the 720-page monster, A Little Life. I’ve set aside probably 10-15 books that are no more than 300 pages, and most are well under that. I find that I’m much more productive during my ‘thon if I can get through a couple books in short order, even if I do decide to read from a doorstopper at some point during the weekend.
- Don’t be afraid to DNF. Even if you’re an avid opponent of DNFing (stands for “Did Not Finish) in your normal, non-readathoning life, you absolutely should embrace it during a ‘thon. Sometimes a book just isn’t working for you in that moment, and if you feel pressure to keep going with it, the wrong book will derail your entire ‘thon. You’re not DNFing forever – just for the weekend.
- Mix it up. Try a variety of genres or topics or plots during readathon; it’s the very best way to keep your interest high. I like to switch around between non-fiction – like memoirs or pop sociology – and fiction – like YA, literary, mystery, and sci-fi – to not get bored with what I’m reading.
- Formats are your friends. Because this readathon takes place over a full weekend, you are probably going to have to leave your couch at some point. This is where audiobooks are tremendously helpful. I love being able to get up, go for a walk or a run, or even just doing some yoga poses in my apartment while still putting a book in my head. (If you’ve never tried audiobooks before, check out this recent Book Riot post about ones we love). Similarly, switching between print and ebooks can save your eyes a bit of strain.
- Stock up. If you can, go shopping for and prepare food in advance. During the winter 24in48, I’m a big fan of throwing something in a slow cooker and letting it get yummy without me having to touch it. But for the summer, I’ll be prepping fresh stuff for easy access: cutting up cucumber and red pepper slices or making a big bowl of berries that I can snack out of. And if you do feel like you need to move around, a trip to the grocery store – audiobook in hand – is a good distraction for an hour or so.
- Sleep. This is not a sprint. This is a readathon for people who like to sleep, so take a nap if you want. Get a full night’s sleep on Friday, and wake up when you want on Saturday to get started. Getting plenty of sleep with allow you to power through when you’re pushing for your goals.
- Set goals. Yeah sure, reading for 24 hours is a goal, but setting personal goals is great for personal motivation. It could be something as simple as setting a page goal or a book goal, or to cross three books off your #ReadHarder Challenge, or to meet a monetary goal if you’re reading for charity. You can also simultaneously participate in the #Cramathon, which is a ‘thon also happening this weekend, which all about finishing short books.
- Keep a parachute handy. This is the “Emergency Exit” book, a book that will reset your reading system no matter what funk your previous read has put you in. That can mean an indulgent kind of book – like romance – or a well-loved reread or a book that you know you’re going to love because of the genre or author or topic or whatever. This is your parachute when nothing seems to be clicking.
Those are my suggestions for having a strong readathon. Any tips you’d add?