National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is well under way in my classroom. This is the fifth year I have undertaken this event with a class. It is an incredible experience for the students!
During October, students plan their novel. When November 1 dawns, they leap into the novel. This is only November 6, and they are still typing madly into the computer. Most adults are used to composing as they word process, but this is a new experience for my students. Usually they are required to type from a handwritten rough draft.
Next week their enthusiasm will begin to fade. NaNoWriMo is about stamina. It is a marathon rather than a sprint. Students will encourage each other and me (my word goal is 50,000 words!) and celebrate each 10% completed.
By the third week, fingers will hurt and brains will be tired of writing. We will have to push each other to hit each milestone.
The fourth week is Thanksgiving week. Some students will be going on a trip, others will be busy with family and food. In past years, the last day or two of November fell on the Monday or Tuesday of the week following Thanksgiving. This will be the first year that my students will be responsible on their own to validate their novels on November 30. I hope they all remember!
December, which seems so far away at this time, is a time for celebrating our novels and polishing them into shape. Accomplishing a novel in a month is an extremely empowering event. It gives confidence to students that they normally wouldn’t have. That is why I participate in National Novel Writing Month each year with my students. It’s worth it!
So far, almost a week in, my students have written 92,996 words! All but one met their 20% goal today, and many are already 40% or 50% done. I’m only at 20% on my own novel, so I’d better get writing! I can’t have my students beat me!