For any of you that love to write, or have a student that would benefit from a great writing experience, here is a guest post from my daughter over at Musings of an Elf about National Novel Writing Month:
NaNoWriMo started out 13 years ago by a small group of people who wanted to try their hand at novel writing. This formed into the official site NaNoWriMo.org where anyone can join in on the insanity of writing 50k words in only 30 days. It quickly grew into a sensation and now has thousands and thousands of participants of all ages, young and old, not only national but international, every year.
50,000 words in one month. A crazy goal, but doable, and quite fun!
So why is this fun you ask? Let me sum NaNo up for you and you can see for yourself.
NaNo consists of sitting down and staring at your screen for endless upon endless hours, straining your eyes to the point of blindness. Hiding in your writing places for days on end until your family and friends begin to think you have disappeared from the earth, or just gone mad (which every NaNo participant is, so this is not far from the truth). Forgetting that eating is essential to stay alive (I mean, as long as you are feeding your characters than that is all that matters, right?). Wearing your fingers out until they scream for a reprieve or just shrivel up altogether to the point of incapacitation (until next November of course!). Consuming so much coffee (or other such beverage (I don’t like coffee)) that you grow a permanent twitching in your left eye. And then, after all that work and abandoning your entire life for a whole month, you find your novel to be a complete mess of blurred words and random sentences.
Doesn’t that sound fun?!
See, didn’t I tell you? Nothing better than that!
Okay, okay, while my summary of NaNo is very true (*cough*), that is not all NaNo is about.
NaNoWriMo is a fantastic program that helped me with my passion for writing tremendously. It is so much fun knowing you are doing the same crazy task with thousands of other people around the world. It gives you such a feeling of accomplishment to know you made it to the “winner’s circle” and wrote that much in only 30 days. You will find your imagination flowing like never before. The possibilities are really endless.
They offer all sorts of things. There is a NaNo store where you can buy really neat NaNo’ing things like NaNoWriMo pens, books, mugs, bags, etc. If you donate to the program there are some nifty donor goodies waiting for you. Throughout the month of November they get authors (often famous ones at that) to send out pep talks to keep you moving forward. For the past 2 or 3 years they have had a place called CreateSpace offering to print your novel in actually book form if you make it to 50k words, which was very nice. And the cool thing is all those who make it to 50k are winners, giving you a deep feeling of pleasure because of it.
One of the most wonderful things NaNo offers is the “Young Writers Program.” This is for anyone younger than the age required to participate (13 and up), or any who wish to set a lower word goal than 50k. At ywp.nanowrimo.org you will find a site very much like the official one but geared for a younger audience. Here anyone from Kindergarten on can participate in the fun of the month, setting their own word goals, and experiencing the wonders of writing.
At the Young Writers Program there is also a section for educators, where they offer lesson plans, worksheets, classroom kits, and the like that you can use to get your children started, excited about writing, and strive to make it to their goal.
There is just so much there!
I think NaNo is a great program that really teaches persistence and hard work, discovering the ways of the writing world, flourishes the imagination, and yet is fun doing it all.