Ten Dewey Read-a-Thon Tips

Dewey's 24 Hr Readthon is around the corner (this week in fact!), so I thought this would be a good chance to put out some of my own read-a-thon tips and advice. The title "24-Hr Readathon" may sound intimidating, and it certainly can be if you try the full 24-hour without shut-eye, but the important thing to remember is that this is supposed to be a fun journey that adds some extra spice to your reading life, not an actual chore. If your idea of fun is doing the full 24-Hours, then by all means go for it and embrace the spirit of the read-a-thon fully! On the other hand, if your idea is participating in the hours you can while you have to work, sleep or do adulting the rest of the day, it's still all good. Again the point is - have fun with it!

Tip 1 - Just Go for it!

Whether you're participating 1 hour or 24 hours, just go for it. Participating at lunch break if you work on the day of the Read-a-thon still brings in joy and readership community. No matter what time, tricks or tips you utilize, the point is participating at all is the full prize in itself.

Tip 2 - Involve friends!

Whether meeting together locally for some read-a-thon reading, or joining in with others on social media like Twitter, the official Dewey read-a-thon page, Facebook or Goodreads, having people to cheer you on and share your progress is inspiring and can make the difference on crossing that finish line.

A big reason I participate is that it's something fun to do with other readers worldwide. Everyone is different with what makes it fun, but personally I find it even more exciting to whip up some Instagram shots to chronicle my progress, do some of the mini-games hosted by Dewey or the hoster when I need small reading breaks (with audio in the background), seeing reader's planned recipes and thoughts before the read-a-thon. 

Some update every hour for a small eye rest and to keep the momentum up (a good time, again, to whip out the audio), but others do in spurts by the hours. Whichever works for you fully works.

Tip 3 - Food is your friend...or foe!

Food is more important than you may think. Last year when I participated I planned to treat myself with a favorite delivered food for dinner - Hungry Howie's Calzone subs - but after thinking about it I realize that the heavy and carb-rich treat may not have been the best choice for binge-reading. A lot of people are planning on chocolate and sugar - trust me, I'll indulge too especially with drinks - but weighing the food out with healthy and light choices is the way to go for full alertness and longevity. I need caffeine like the next person, but planning a sugar-crash in a few hours isn't the best way to beat the progress when you want to read hours late into the night.

Some come up with the fun idea of reading at coffee shops or restaurants to break up the monotony, which I fully support. I plan to maybe indulge in a salad bar at Ruby Tuesday's for the afternoon lunch break - one, to get a chance of place since I mainly will be reading at my house; two, it's a light and easy meal for the afternoon crunch; three, I don't have to cook and distract myself with it!  Some plan to leave the crockpot all day steaming with soups or chilis, others order in, and some pre-make the food to heat up for dinner. 

Last year I made breakfast to wake up for the day while playing an audiobook in the kitchen. This year I'll repeat this. I'm NOT a morning person, and moving around to do the routine of breakfast helped me get in the mood of the read-a-thon so early, getting some energy through my body moving around so early, and also gave my slow and awkward morning brain some time to wake up. Audiobooks aren't my favorite things, but they are a mercy on the day of the read-a-thon! You can work the routine of the food into part of the fun.

I'm planning to mix it up with my usual lattes, water, perhaps some snuck soda, and a few of those loose teas I've been meaning to try. Hence where my sugar content seems to seep in! I know some are already mentioning the joys of evening wine while chilling with the books, but since that usually makes me relaxed/tired, I'll probably whip out the fun juice another time.
Tip 4 - Audiobook Time!

Speaking of audiobooks again..... If you're a regular audiobook user, this is no biggie, but if you rarely indulge then take the advice now --- have one available! If you need to play it on the radio when driving to the coffee-shop, want to try out the new yoga routines you've been planning, want to get some walking in to keep the energy level up, or need it just on those occasions where you have to cook or clean or do something else adultish, then they are a necessity. 

Giving eyes frequent breaks is always a good idea -- strained eyes are tired eyes.

Tip 5 - Don't box yourself in with limited TBR

In some ways it's best to over-plan than under-plan.  It's nice to force yourself to finish certain books that don't fully capture your attention, but on the day of the read-a-thon, when you're reading for hours at a time or for a full 24 rush, your interest needs to be fully captured! Discard those that don't interest you as much for the next day or the next week -- you'd don't want to force yourself to read something you're just not feeling chemistry with or that you don't have actual interest on this particular day because then reading will be more of a struggle in general.

I know many try to read a big variety of books, and while I'm a big juggle reader myself, reading a little of different books in a row can kind of suck the joy out of it. Have a variety that will fit your mood that day - and you really won't always know your mood until the day strikes, plans aside. 

It's also a great time to read a series you're into so you can just pick the next book up without feeling overwhelmed by switching to a new world right away! 

Tip 6 - Keep up the pace by enjoying your place

Keep up your pace by sprucing up your favorite reading spot or scope out a new location completely. Reading outdoors if the weather is nice is always invigorating for the fresh air, taking those long indulgent baths with the bubbles and the books, or scoping out the local coffee shop for a change of pace. It would be a great day to get in the walk with the audiobook, especially if the weather permits and there's something fresh nearby. Having the snuggly blanket and pajamas laid out for couch reading is bliss.

A lot of people read in bed, which may be your preference, especially if you're trying to wind down for a short nap. I probably will stay away from the bed until I'm turning in for a nap, but everyone is different.

The Relentless Reader is one person who is renting a hotel room for the occasion - now that's dedication!

It's fun to do something special for your favorite reading spots for the read-a-thon -- I usually leave reading ambience videos playing in the background such as Rainymood or something comparable. Here's a post about recommended reading videos I put together last year.

Tip 7 - If needed, naps allowed!

Speaking of naps, there's no shame in the doze to keep up the momentum. Not everyone can actually read 24 hours, and not everyone actually wants to. I was actually super tired of reading last year during the last stretch, so I tossed it up and turned in. Forcing yourself to endure when you start hating it doesn't do your psyche favors. Some planned naps throughout the day can help those intimidating night hours easier to endure.  You know your own body and if naps help or hinder. 

Tip 8 - Electronic Prep

An easy tip that can save aggravation is to have everything powered up and battery ready the night before. Nothing like wanting to do phone updates and Instagram snaps to find out the thing needs charged, or the camera battery is dead, or the Kindle is on 10%...Sounds simple but I ran into a photo-taking malfunction last year that required a new phone and a few lost hours.

Tip 9 - Get good sleep the week before

Being exhausted and needing weekend rest that you'll be avoiding on the read-a-thon day isn't the best start. Honestly the best prep before a 24 hour read-a-thon is making sure you get nights of full, good rest days before the big event takes place. Starting exhausted doesn't make sense.

Tip 10 - Keep your mind awake by keeping the body charged.

While working up a sweat and exhausting yourself isn't a great idea since your body will start seeking out sleep, moving every hour at the least is the best way to keep your body alert and cycle oxygen and blood to the muscles. Relaxing walks, stretching and active movement is one of the best ways to stay awake, healthy and happy. Reading doesn't just mean lounging 24/7 - keep the mind active by keeping the body awake.

** Some of these pictures were provided as a free resource from pexels.