Welcome to November, the official National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)! As many of you are already aware, NaNoWriMo is a free online program that challenges participants to write a book in 30 days. The program is segmented; there’s a site for adults and a site for kids, with different approaches and requirements. Both components are chock full of encouragement, humor, intelligence, and a general positive nature that just makes you feel good about writing. I’m a huge fan.
Eva started participating in NaNoWriMo when she was just six years old. That year, I asked her a series of questions to help her create an outline for her story. Over the month of November, she dictated her story to me, and I typed it down as fast as my fingers could fly, word for word. Over the months of December and January, I taught her how to edit her work, in February I taught her how to choose text blocks to illustrate, and in March I laid it all out and sent it off to a self-publishing firm. In April, she had her book in her eager hands. An author was born.
Since then, we have participated every year, and over time Eva has taken on more of the entire idea to market process. She no longer dictates to me, she takes care of most of the editing (though she still uses an outside editor as well, because all good writers use outside editors), and she has learned the graphic design, layout and uploading process of creating the final product. Now in November, you’ll often find us sitting side by side working on our separate projects. And that’s fine by me.
Writing a novel each year is a huge project, and as such it makes up the bulk of Eva’s English curriculum. It is not exclusive, however; she also reads quality, challenging books, we attend plays and discuss movies and Dr. Who episodes, and I give her the occasional argumentative essay assignment. But we are a family of story creators, and I believe that the time we commit to NaNoWriMo is worth its weight in gold.
Participation in NaNoWriMo has taught Eva how to develop plot, character, and setting. It’s taught her about story genre, grammar, style, and point of view. She’s studied illustration styles, formatting, and graphic design. She’s also learned business management, supply and demand, and about profits and costs. Being an author has provided public speaking opportunities and has led her to pursue theater and filmmaking, as well as web design and professional social media management. She learned to save her money and reinvest in her business; just last week she purchased a Macbook Air with the profits from her book sales. Perhaps she would have developed these skills without NaNoWriMo, but it certainly planted a seed.
So it is with great pleasure that we enter the month of November. Eva woke up on November 1st as excited as if it was Christmas day. She couldn’t wait to get started, and scurried off to her room with her new Mac. Throughout the morning, I kept hearing periodic squealing from the other room: “I can’t believe how much I LOVE to write!”
If you’d like your child to connect with Eva on NaNoWriMo this month, you can find her at EvaRocks. I know she’d love to share the journey!