For those of you who would love to write a novel but never knew you could, National Novel Writing Month begins today (or yesterday, technically – but it’s not too late to jump on the bandwagon).
National Novel Writing Month starts every November 1 and runs though November 30. I wrote a “novel in a month” several years ago in August (I chose the summer given the demands of Brave Writer during the school year). It turned out to be one of the most satisfying and enjoyable writing experiences of my life. A Brave Writer mom, Ellen, sent me a note to share about how she modified the expectations of NaNoWriMo last year to suit her daughter’s current writing level. I’m inspired! Certainly some of you may wish to try the same with your kids (any month of the year!). By the way, “winning” in NaNoWriMo means finishing the month and getting all those words written.
My almost-9-year-old daughter just won NaNoWriMo! I offered her a month off from narration, copywork, dictation, and any other writing assignments if she wanted to try it. She enjoyed filling in the novel planning workbook during October. Toward the end of October, we looked at the word count recommendations on the NaNoWriMo website and set a goal of 4000 words for her, with a daily goal of 175 words. That was more words than she’d ever written at one time.
On November 1, she was a little intimidated by the blank page in front of her, so my husband helped her with an opening line. After that, there was no looking back, and we were both surprised that her first day’s writing produced over 200 words! Some days she knew exactly what she wanted to write, and some days there was a lot of pencil tapping and sighing, but she stuck with it.
We talked about her novel between writing sessions, about ways to get unstuck (just skip over or sum up the boring parts), about the relationships between characters. We noticed how other authors handled the passage of time in our read-alouds. Tonight we uploaded the first 4000 words of her novel into the NaNoWriMo word count validator and celebrated her win. She wants to keep working on her novel until she finishes the story, since 4000 words barely introduced the main characters and problem.
My husband asked her if she learned anything about writing and her first response was, “I learned that writing can be exciting if it’s something I want to write about!” I thought that was a great lesson to have learned.
So give it a a whirl. And let us know in the comments if you’re doing it so we can cheer you on!