Friday, September 27, 2013

NaNoWriMo and the Young Writer's Program

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month.  It takes place in November each year and is described as 30 days and nights of literary abandon.  Does that sound like fun to you?

NaNoWriMo for me ...

I love to write, guess you know that already.  Here's a link to my writing blog, Ink Island.  I have something like 50 unfinished projects, which I put away in boxes when we decided to homeschool our children.

Do you wonder why couldn't I write AND home-educate?

When the kids were younger, it went something like this:

ME (parent, teacher, wife) + WRITING = preoccupied, distracted, frustrated, guilty, sad

In short, the combination wasn't good for me as a writer or mother, and one role had to be put on hold.  It was an easy choice!  There is a season for everything, and it wasn't the season for me to focus on writing.  Now, perhaps it is the season for me to write a little ... at least for an hour a day during the month of November.

I dipped my toes into NaNoWriMo last year, but quickly discovered the water was still too chilly.  There were other issues we had to deal with more urgently ... I was battling ill health, helping elderly relatives in need, and squeezing in a little home ed whenever I could manage.

Fast forward to this year.  I am much healthier (for which I can only praise the Lord).  Our relatives needs have changed and I have a little more free time.  And rather than trying to keep up with delightful but demanding children, I am home educating two (more independent) bright, keen young writers.

So, with a healthy mix of energy, caution, passion, commitment and prayerfulness, I am doing NaNoWriMo 2013.  I have updated my existing NaNoWriMo account.  I won't say what I am writing.  For me it is more about taking some time out to write each day, pulling together some ideas I have been jotting down in my spare time during the last couple of years.

... and my children!

They are coming along for the ride, in the NaNoWriMo Young Writer's Program.  They are keen, but there will be no pressure, just a lot of encouragement, fun and writing (with as much support as they need).  I created a teacher ID separate from my writer ID, registered our 'school' on the YWP page with a fun name and I enrolled my students.  We're ready to rock!

I already have some excellent resources for teaching children how to write, but was nevertheless happy to discover the Lesson Plans NaNoWriMo has provided for teachers.  I have chosen the Upper Elementary Curriculum, and will use whatever parts of it I think we will find useful.

There are also Student Workbooks.  I have downloaded one but don't know if we will use it yet.  My budding authors often prefer to do things orally.  I am sure some pages will be helpful during the planning stages.

If you want to register for the Young Writers Program, it's easy.  Start here, read what it's about and follow the instructions.  You will need an email address for each child.  We used pseudonyms and signed up for gmail ... my children are thrilled to have email addresses, even if I insist they are joint accounts with me.   I don't imagine they will need to access their email accounts anyway.  We can send each other messages within our NaNoWriMo YWP classroom.

Have you ever taken part in NaNoWriMo?  Do you think the Young Writers Program is something your children would enjoy?


  1. Good luck with Nano! I find doing Nano and similar really helps to banish my pesky inner editor.

    1. Thanks Kez. I am already enjoying having a timeframe to work within. I think I think I am more decisive and better at solving problems under pressure. Until today I had no antagonist and a pretty weak plot, but things are looking much more lively now! I linked to your website on my writing blog today when I was writing something about where writers write.

  2. Update ... we're one week into NaNoWriMo and going strong. My daughter (8) has written her own chapter outlines and is still working on the opening chapter of her story. My son (9) is up to Chapter 4, making good use of the voice recorder on his iPad (iTalk) and his scribe (that would be me). My main character (11) is facing her fears and reconnecting with a character she abandoned two years ago. I am enjoying writing my story as much as I expected to!

  3. What an exciting month for you guys! Thanks for sharing the post and the update. There are many things I've had to put on hold while I homeschool. But as the kids are getting older, things are opening back up, My big goal this year is to break out the canvasses again and paint something. And write a book. And plan a business..... Ok. So maybe I still have some prioritizing to do! It is so inspiring to see you returning to your writing with NaNoWriMo, combining it with homeschool so that you all are nurtured. Keep it up!


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