NaNoWriMo Writers Wanted: kids and teachers may apply.

My favorite writing season is fall.  I love getting back into school routines after a busy summer.  By mid-October, life has usually settled down, marching band is over and National Novel Writing Month is just gearing up.

If you’ve never heard of NaNoWriMo and you write fiction, you may want to check it out.  It is the biggest writing contest in the world.  It’s free.  It’s fun, and at the end of a successful season, you get a cheesy winner’s certificate that you can proudly hang on your office wall.  I love it.

So, what is NaNoWriMo?  Simply put, it is writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.  Across the globe, crazy writers pen their first words after midnight on November 1st and finish with “the end” by midnight on November 30th.

In its thirteenth season, NaNoWriMo connects thousands of writers engaged in a single mission.  Over the years I have met some of the most amazing writing friends a gal could ask for.  I’ve also completed five manuscripts, though last year’s MG novel came in 15,000 words shy of the required word count for me to earn my coveted certificate.

I usually enter November with an idea.  It may be a vague sense of plot, a character that (literally) speaks to me and a title.  One year, I actually researched my basic theme by reading a few books on the subject matter and interviewing someone.  Super smart idea.  But I don’t plot and I don’t outline.  I’m a pantster.  Always have been, always will be.

And that’s okay.  What’s important about writing in general, and NaNoWriMo in particular, is the process of getting a story out of our heads and onto paper.  Editing has no role in the frenzied pace of NaNo.  Purging our thoughts onto the keyboard does.

Which brings me to one of the very best things about NaNoWriMo.  They have a program for young Wrimos designed to be used in the classroom or a library setting.  It targets skills addressed in curriculums.  It offers support and prizes and motivational thingys to get kids excited about writing.

It allows kids to set their own goals and actually use the skills teachers so desperately pound into students’ heads.  It taps into their imaginations and allows their creativity to take a break from the torture of learning mechanics by rote memorization.  Instead, practical application reigns supreme.

NaNoWriMo is a good thing.  And if you’re interested in signing up as a solo writer, please do so here.

If you’re a teacher who thinks outside the box, check out the Young Writer’s Program to see what it can offer the students in your classroom.

And if you have no interest in actually writing yourself, but think the Young Writer’s Program is a great idea, consider donating.  I do.

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13 responses to “NaNoWriMo Writers Wanted: kids and teachers may apply.

  1. I do NaNoWriMo with my high school creative writing students every year. They completely freak out (I set their minimum at 10,000 words), wonder how on earth they are going to make it, wait, this is awesome, I have this great idea, I don’t know where this is going, the idea is back, I haven’t slept because of my idea, done. It is amazing because after this, they laugh in the face of a 5-8 page story.

    I love it.

    • Tasha,

      That’s awesome. Did you take the initiative to get this started in your classroom, or had others done it and led the way? I’ve never heard of a teacher (and subsequently their students) who have walked away from the Young Writer’s Program disappointed.

      I would love to see it in my kids’ school, as I think writing is becoming a lost skill. And like you said, once they “get” what they can do, it makes all future writing projects much easier.

      Thanks for sharing your success story. I hope other teachers will see this and join you!

  2. I participated in NaNoWriMo last year, and as a result, had the rudimentary story I call Interior Designs. After continuing to work on it afterwards, it is now pretty much done!

    Great experience!

    • Yay! I love NaNo success stories. Are you participating this year?

      Quite a few traditionally published novels have come out of NaNo. And last year I actually rubbed elbows with THE Jackson Pearce. So love that place!

  3. I am doing my first NaNo this year. It fits nicely with the gap between the editing of my last novel and the cooling off period of the one before that so I figured I would have a go. I am planning a bit for it and outlining a little but nowhere as much as other people.

  4. I’m kind of calling October my NoWriMo, I need to finish this WIP!

  5. November will be BiBblaCaReMo!

    BigBlackCat Rests Month!

  6. Pingback: Blog Treasures 10-15 « Gene Lempp's Blog

  7. Very interesting!
    I will need to check this out more thoroughly. I love the fact that you have a focused deadline and how structured this looks.
    Thanks for the info!

    • NaNo is amazing. It’s a fun experience, and, for me, productive. You should give it a try.

      Click on my sidebar NaNo badge and you can buddy me if you decide to give it a whirl.

      Best luck~

  8. Thanks! “Buddy” – I am really excited about this.

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