I spent a good part of October on a personal read-a-thon while going on a blogging hiatus. Now that I’m sort of getting back into the swing of blogging, I thought it’d be interesting to do a read-a-thon reflection.
During those two weeks that I dedicated to reading, I realized that I needed to compromise a fair bit because things we plan don’t always turn out exactly that way. For example, I planned five books for the first week. I read six during the entire two weeks and I only read two from the planned stack.
I like lists. They offer a good overview, so here you go:
- The aim of a read-a-thon is to read more. “More” is relative. Initially I wanted to read more per week than my average of two to three books. Then I shifted my aim to reading more than I probably would have without the read-a-thon. Those two weeks turned out to be so busy for me, I hardly had any time left for myself. Nonetheless, in the end I do believe that I read more.
- Audiobooks count too. When I planned the books I wanted to read, I completely forgot to factor in audiobooks. When I realized that I was getting too tired to read at night, I switched things up with audiobooks, which helped me a lot.
- Consider non-fiction. I read two non-fiction books on logo design. But one had one logo per page. I still decided to count those pages because each page challenged me to think about what worked and what didn’t. The good thing about non-fiction books is that you can easily read them in sections when you don’t have time to read for hours on end. In fact, I think breaking down reading time into chunks is a lot more beneficial for absorbing non-fiction. Your brain needs time to process anyway.
- Move on if a book bores you. “Did not finish” or DNF is rarely part of my vocabulary. Still, I think I should have paused one of the books sooner because I seriously slowed down reading thanks to it.
- Read books that excite you. The more excited you are, the more you will read.
- Pick diverse genres. You will read more in a shorter period of time. If all the plots are the same, you will surely be bored of the repetitiveness. Variety keeps things interesting.
- Make yourself comfortable in your favourite place to read. When reading for extended periods of time, you need to stay comfortable. If you keep shifting because your back is aching, you can’t continue reading. So make sure you’re prepared to sit for a few hours.
- Stay away from your TV, Netflix, or Hulu. Yes, Gilmore Girls hit Netflix recently but those books won’t read themselves when you’re catching up on TV shows instead.
- Take a break. It’s okay to not read for a day, especially when your read-a-thon spans over a week or more. Your mind needs to rest before it can focus on the books again.
- Track your progress. Seeing your progress advance (or slow down) will keep you motivated. Motivation is key.
- Use pockets of time. Queuing at the bank? Waiting for the bus? Commuting on a train? These are great times to whip out your current read. You double up on the time you don’t actually have. Reading is a wonderful activity that you can engage in anywhere you go.
- Set a target. Decide when you want to finish the book you’re currently reading. IF you usually take three days to finish a book and are still reading one after four days, maybe it’s time to switch to a different book.
- Keep a notebook, pen and post-its nearby. Take notes as and when you come across something you want to remember. Don’t waste your mental capacity to try and memorize the epic poem your protagonist wrote or to try to memorize this great playlist that accompanies the book you’re reading. You need to continue reading. Jotting down notes helps clear these moments our of your system.
- Don’t be discouraged. Reading is supposed to be fun. If you’re enjoying the book you’re currently reading, that matters more than any quantity of books you read.