Today, I’m talking stack prep. As a freelancer who doesn’t really get weekends off, planning ensures I can fully enjoy the event without any hiccups. Every year, when I find out the date of the readathon, I block it off on my calendar. I think of it like a doctor’s appointment, vital to my health—mind, body, and soul.
Building Your Stack
Choosing books for the readathon is one of my favorite planning activities, but it can definitely be overwhelming. The key is to know your abilities and limits. Do you plan to read the whole 24 hours? Are you expecting multiple interruptions? Are you a quick reader or a slow one?
Here are some strategies you might want to consider:
- Choose a lengthy book: Pick a single chonky read and plan to make a dent in it or—if you’re speedy, finish it.
- Opt for audio: Whether you tune into audiobooks for part of or all of the 24 hours, they give your eyes a rest, so they provide a nice break from eyeball-type reading (this is a saying, right?) And, if you’re like me, audio might even help you stay awake!
- Go short: Select short reads for your readathon adventures, especially if you have a short attention span. I like to pick a few short reads just in case any of the longer books I choose are not keeping my attention.
- Pretty pictures: Graphic novels, picture books, and illustrated novels are all options for your readathon pile. You don’t need to have kids joining you for the event to go visual.
- Go outside your comfort zone: It’s just 24 hours. This is the perfect time to read something outside of your usual genres. Use this chance to try a new author and discover diverse voices. You never know, you might even find a new fav! Open your horizons; it’ll be worth it.
I highly recommend picking out at least 10 books for your pile. Will you definitely get through them all? Probably not. But I can guarantee your mood will likely change the day of the readathon and throughout. Think you’re up for a romantic read? You might just start the day realizing you’ve got a hankering for something spooky.
Speaking of, I also suggest adding at least one spooky-themed book to your list. It’s the perfect way to get in the spirit of the season.
A few other planning tips:
- Check Goodreads (or your preferred platform) for page counts. Especially if you’re opting for all digital content.
- Plan your schedule. Decide which books fit best for each part of the day. Do this beforehand, so you’re not wasting time playing eenie-meenie-myni-moe (sp?) on the 24th.
- Download, borrow, or purchase everything now. Don’t wait until the readathon to download the ebook you plan to read. Get everything prepped right away. Even if you own all the books already. Pick them off the shelves and arrange them into a neat pile for the readathon. You’ll be ready for action, and the stack will get you excited for the event.
- Tell everyone you are off-limits. Alert your family, friends, and boss that you are busy Saturday the 24th. People will probably still bug you—particularly if you’re a parent! But a preemptive strike is helpful.
- Plan dinner beforehand. Don’t wait until Saturday to figure out dinner. I usually order pizza for the readathon, but if you’re cooking, prep a freezer meal the week or day before. At the very least, know exactly what you plan to cook. The less thinking you have to do about anything else, the more time and energy you’ll have for reading.
- Get all your tools ready the night before. Charge your phone, prep your notebook, get your snacks ready—make sure you have whatever stuff you usually use for the readathon right on hand.
Finally, I highly recommend setting three goals for yourself. You don’t need to meet all these goals. The idea is to have an A, B, and C goal. This is something I learned to do as a runner when racing. Always have three goals.
A Goal: your most ambitious target (e.g., I want to read 5 full novels)
B Goal: a less intense goal in case things don’t go exactly as planned (e.g., finish one book)
C Goal: a goal should the day completely turn upside down, say if you’re not feeling well (e.g., just have fun!)
And hey, it’s okay if you’re not the planning type! Do what feels right for you! I hope you enjoy the day, connect with other readers, and get some reading in. It’s not about page counts or lightning-fast reading speeds. It’s all about our collective love of reading!