Consider NaNoWriMo for Your Young Writer
RAISING A WRITER
Friday, my 8th grade students started the young writer’s version of NaNoWriMo, National Write a Novel Month. It was all anyone could talk about at lunch: “What is your story about?” . . . “Do you know a good name for a villain?” . . . “Where could my story take place?” During class, I made sure there was a computer for everyone, and they were off creating their stories.
Since your writers are usually off doing the same thing, I thought I'd share a few things I know about NaNoWriMo and why you might consider it as a tool for your writer. NaNoWriMo is a website that has been around since 2000 and attracts thousands of writers each year who set aside November as their month to write an entire novel. It’s not an easy task, but everyone who meets their word-count goal “wins.”
Young writers are invited, free of charge, to participate in NaNoWriMo with the benefit of getting to select their own word count goal. Here is what they suggest:
I see many benefits to NaNoWriMo participation. Here are just a few:
NaNoWriMo gives writers a push to FINISH a story. Young writers are dazzled by story starts but get bogged down by story middles. Consequently, they have few complete stories.
NaNoWriMo says write it fast this month and edit in December. That "muddy middle" has to be worked through to make it to the end.
NaNoWriMo gives writers an opportunity to plan ahead and stick to a goal. There are “badges” for keeping up with your word count goal and for writing effort.
NaNoWriMo gives writers motivational resources that can build their writer’s toolbox. There is a “dare machine” that provides a writing challenge if you are “stuck,” professional writer’s pep talks, videos, all kinds of surprises.
NaNoWriMo is a fun community for a writer to be a part of. November is the “flagship” event, but there are other smaller challenges throughout the year such as a spring write and a short story contest.
NaNoWriMo gives writers a chance to practice keyboarding skills. Most young writers I know are still slow at keyboarding. NaNoWriMo could be a chance to work on this skill. They NEED this practice. Having said this, there is an option when you register to enter in your word count manually. This opens-up participation to all levels and keyboarding ambitions!
I’m anxious to see how my 8th graders do with this NaNoWriMo challenge, and I’d love to hear if any of your writers join in! It could change the way your family looks at November and become a great tradition.
P.S. Are you looking for a holiday gift for your writer? Consider Camp in a Box--our writing box subscription that brings a writing experience right to your door each month. Coming soon!