In just five and a half short hours, National Novel Writing Month begins. This will be the fourth year I have participated in NaNoWriMo, all four times with my class of eager students. Well, that first group wasn’t very eager–they were pretty terrified. Three years, though, and all but one of those students finished their novels. Me, too. That sets a lot of pressure on me for this year!
My newest crop of students are a combo class. That means I have 18 sixth graders and 11 fifth graders. They are very independent workers and very good writers. I am looking forward to watching their fingers fly over the keyboards and their brains smoking as they whip out their novels. NaNoWriMo says a sixth grader should be able to write 10,000 words during the month of November. Last year my sixth graders averaged 20,000 words, so there’s some pressure on the kids this year, too.
Former students also participate in NaNoWriMo, often on their own without the encouragement of a teacher. Last year a former student did NaNoWriMo with her high school Creative Writing Club. This year a younger former student started a NaNoWriMo club at the middle school. I am so proud of these kids!
I need to remind parents that they, too, can participate in NaNoWriMo. As an adult, the word count goal is firmly set at 50,000 words. That means 1,362 words a day. Every day of November. To put this in perspective, one typed page is about 250 words. So do you have a novel that is screaming to get out of your head? Ever wanted to dabble in writing? Now is the time to try it! Parents of my students are welcome to write along with us. I’ve only had one parent commit to this in three years. Yes, it’s a huge commitment, but the exhiliration of finishing will carry you into the new year!
For more info on students, go to: ywp.nanowrimo.org
For adults: nanowrimo.org