April 2016

Warm-Up: Readathon for Busy People

Warm UpWork. Family. Housework. Significant others. Exercise. Sleep.

These are just a few of the excuses you may be making as to why you can’t participate in the readathon. 24 hours can seem like a lot of time to dedicate just to reading. How do people do it?

The truth is, sometimes it’s impossible. Even if you manage to rearrange your schedule and prepare everything beforehand, things still come up. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still readathon!

Of the five times I’ve participated in the readathon, I’ve only been able to completely clear my schedule once, many years ago. To fit the readathon between work, family, school, and other events, I’ve had to be creative in finding ways to participate. Today, I want to share some of the ways I’ve made the readathon work with my busy life.

Audiobooks are the number one resource I’ve found to combat a full schedule. They’re the best way to get some reading done without sacrificing the use of your hands and eyes. Dishes need washing*? Audiobooks. Have an hour and a half long commute to work*? Audiobooks. Training for a triathalon*? Audiobooks. You get the idea.

If you’re new to the audiobook world, I recommend choosing shorter, faster-paced stories that will hold your attention. And definitely check the reviews beforehand! A narrator can make or break an audiobook. Audible is a great place to see what’s popular and what others are saying.

Another word of caution: With very few exceptions, your progress will be slower with an audiobook than if you were reading it traditionally. Make sure you plan for this when setting your book goals. But hey, you just managed to clean your whole apartment from top to bottom* and still got some reading in! That counts as a win in my book.

* Real readathon audiobook experiences from the author.

If your day is packed with events and you only have small pockets of time to devote to reading, then perhaps graphic novels would be a good match for you. They’re generally pretty light on text, so they move quickly. The visual format also lends itself well to starting and stopping. If you don’t remember what just happened, a quick look at the illustrations will usually refresh your memory.

For truly bite-sized bits of story, manga can’t be beat! Most of these were originally released one chapter at a time in a different publication, so each chapter is pretty well self-contained. But be warned! They’re designed to keep you coming back for more, so you may not be able to stop!

Does even a chapter seem too time-consuming? No problem! Webcomics may be just what you need. Like many other comics, they’re published bit by bit, with the standard being one page at a time. Some pages are a part of a continuous story arc and others stand on their own. Read a single page, several pages, or binge on the archives for a couple of hours. Like other graphic formats, webcomics come in a wide variety of styles and genres, so don’t be afraid to search until you find something that works for you. No matter what, you’re still reading!

When you have a few available minutes, but don’t feel like reading, check out the mini-challenges! Mini-challenges are a great way to get in on the book-loving fun without feeling like you have to devote yourself to an entire book. The “mini” in mini-challenge means they’re usually doable in five or ten minutes. If you’re lucky, you might even win a prize! What’s not to love about that?

Another great use of a couple minutes is cheerleading. Whether you sign up as an official cheerleader or not, leaving a comment on a blog or replying to a tweet can really make a reader’s day. The best part is how easy it is! Smartphones have made social media more accessible than ever, so if you find yourself stuck in line at the store or just feeling burned out on all those audiobooks, take a minute to encourage other readers. They’ll definitely appreciate it.

A few other tips:

Don’t be afraid to sleep! If you’re like me and you have work during or soon after the readathon, it may be necessary to take a nap or sleep like normal to stay healthy and productive. Don’t worry; you won’t miss much. Your health comes first!

Don’t forget to take breaks! Exerting yourself too much can make the readathon less enjoyable. Sometimes you just need a little bit of time away from everything, and that’s okay.

Don’t compare yourself to others! Only you know your limits and your needs. Readathon in the way that’s best for you, not for someone else.

In the end, the readathon is really about people coming together over a shared love of books. If you can’t read for the whole 24 hours, that’s okay! It’s not a contest, nor are there strict rules on how to participate. Make the readathon work for you. Use some of the ideas listed above or forge your own path. The important thing is that you have fun.

No more excuses? Great! I’ll see you this weekend.

elizabeth kasedaThanks so much to Elizabeth Kaseda for these great tips! You can visit Elizabeth on Twitter @ElisabethKaseda or on her blog during readathon.

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