NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month

NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program

National Novel Writing Month happens every November! It’s a fun, seat-of-your-pants writing event where the challenge is to complete an entire novel in just 30 days. For one month, you get to lock away your inner editor, let your imagination take over, and just create!

Have you ever wanted to write a novel? Take on the challenge as a family with NaNoWriMo! NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month – is an annual event where writers challenge themselves to create a novel within only 30 days! Technically beginning at the first of the month and ending at midnight on the 30th, NaNoWriMo is a fun exercise in creativity where writers get to turn off their inner editor, skip endless revising, and just write straight through an entire story!

Of course, novel writing is an activity best suited for older skilled writers, but NaNoWriMo is something that writers of all ages can participate in! And even though November has already started, there’s still plenty of time to participate. Younger writers for whom an entire novel may not be a reasonable goal can determine for themselves what their writing goal should be (instead of the adult goal of 50,000), in terms of number of words (Not sure how many words to write? The NaNoWriMo website offers a special Word Count Generator tool to users who have signed up for the challenge.), And of course, you’re welcome to surpass your word count goal or keep working on your story once the month is over – just work to meet your goal by November 30th, and everything past that is extra!

To officially participate, users must sign up via the NaNoWriMo Young Writers site in order to create an account. While the site doesn’t require that an adult sign off on the account creation, it’s best to do this alongside kids, even if they’re proficient at navigating the internet. Of course, writers can participate without signing up, too – keep the process screen-free by setting your word count goal and posting in prominently in your writing space and do all of your drafting in a notebook.

NaNoWriMo offers lots of resources for their writers, including brainstorming worksheets, stylistic support, and story structure planners for young writers. Educators can find curriculum tailored to using NaNoWriMo with writers of all ages – there are units for students in grades 3-12 that can be used in classrooms any time of year, not just during the official event.

Participating in the NaNoWriMo challenge as a family is a great way to exercise your creativity and help support students in developing writing skills. Whether you’re creating a story together or writing your own separate stories, experiencing the writing process together can be powerful – you’ll all be able to learn from each others’ frustrations and triumphs, and it will be fascinating to watch each others’ stories expand. Have fun!

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