All during the month of November, I have heard my teenage daughter speak of the fact that she had to continue writing for Nanowrimo. I finally asked what in the world she was talking about? My daughter attends an arts high school, majoring in creative writing. The school is located in Jacksonville, Florida. I have become accustomed to all sorts of acronyms for projects that she has undertaken in the creative writing department while being a student there, but Nanowrimo was a new one to me. When I actually researched the site and what my daughter and her fellow classmates were involved in, I came up with www.NaNoWrimo.org. She attend Douglas Anderson School of the Arts and the entire creative writing department is involved in the National Novel Writing Month event.
NaNoWrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Originally, NaNoWrimo was only for students in the United States, however in the last few years it has been expanded to include students in England, France, Sweden, and Denmark. The program is for students 13 years of age and older. During the 2006 campaign, 79,000 students signed up to be a part of the event Nearly 13,00 finished and reached their goal. The goal is to write 50,000 words during the month of November. The site is sponsored by a literary company called the Office of Letters and Lights. Their objective is to introduce students to writing for the sake of writing. Too often students are told to edit and revamp what they have written . NaNoWrimo states that this often takes away from the ability to just write – to be creative without any restraints about editing or perfection. The goal of the program is for every student who has enrolled through their school or local library to write 50,000 words. The words should be around a central theme or a proposed novel, but freelance writing of creative ideas is allowed.
The alternate form of the NaNoWrimo program is their Young Writer’s Program. This is available to students 12 and younger who wish to be part of a writing adventure, but who feel that 50,000 words might be a bit too much. As of last year, there were 12,000 students under the age of 12 who participated in the program. The young people again enroll through their schools or local libraries. They are encouraged to commit to a certain number of words that they will write during the month of November. The website is even willing to send teachers or librarians a free kit explaining how the Young Writer’s Program works.
My daughter has been actively involved in the program for the entire month of November and plans to continue as long as she is involved in the writing program at her arts high school. She stated that the advantage to writing just for the sake of writing, is that it brings forth creativity. She finds that , when you are not stopping to edit and to reach perfection, you can actually put more creativity into the work. You re not wrapped up in wondering if what you wrote was correct. Of course, if the novel was to be actually published, the author would have to strive for perfection. But after the novel, is finished, is when the editing is complete.
I asked what the profit was for her to be involved in NaNoWrimo. She stated that she merely receives a certificate. In addition she lucked out by having a creative writing teacher that is willing to provide extra credit. But above all else, all the students involved in the effort, are learning to write creatively rather than spend countless hours editing and striving for perfection. As I told my daughter, ” Write on!”