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NaNoWriMo and Other Writing Inspiration

Our children spent the month of November writing madly for NaNoWriMo, a writing event in which you are considered a winner if you meet your word count goal.

Miss 11 (3000 words) and Miss 9 (1500 words) both exceeded their word count goals.  On her blog, Miss 14 points out that she did not achieve her goal of 50,000 words, but she is a winner as far as I’m concerned.  Mr. 16, too, accomplished something very worthwhile on his website and will soon be ready to share it with the world. 

So, what good was this experience?  What use is it to spend a month chasing a word count goal?   Isn’t it better to focus on writing one perfect paragraph or report?  Henry Cate shows that in some creative endeavors quality follows quantity, and I agree.  The number of words written makes a huge difference in writing ability and confidence. 

Furthermore, once people have written a novel of any sort and have struggled with plot, character, setting, dialogue, and a blank computer screen, all other writing instruction seems more relevant.  It’s an answer to questions they have and problems they have experienced.  And so they are more interested in writing instruction even after NaNo is over.

Another benefit of NaNoWriMo is accomplishment.  My children have each achieved a major goal through hard work, persistence, and simply ‘writing the next word’.

Of course, this all begs the question: is writing important?  Douglas Wilson, pastor, prolific writer, and apologist, certainly thinks so.  Here’s his lecture at the New Saint Andrews College’s Wordsmithy conference explaining Why Christians must write, and what they must write about.  It’s geared towards adults, but interested teens will also be inspired.

A writing community can make a huge difference.  Kingdom Pen is an online magazine for teens whose goal is to write to the glory of God. Here’s what it’s all about:

The only thing that will ever fix the problems of this world is the atoning work of Christ, and we believe that one of the best ways to share the glory of His truth and work is through the timeless art of story telling. We are here to do what we can to encourage the promotion of that art and be ready to start a fire for Christ to burn through the hearts of our culture–a culture that is obsessed with stories.  

One of the first posts in the new Kingdom Pen website features an interview with N.D. Wilson (who just happens to be the son of Douglas, mentioned above), asking, “What advice do you have for young writers who want to get published?”  Wilson, a Christian author who publishes in the mainstream and gets rave reviews from the likes of Publisher’s Weekly, Washington Post, and School Library Journal, tells young writers to write very, very well, echoing Proverbs when he says:

God has made the world in such a way that he who is excellent in his work will stand before kings.

There are many paths to excellence in writing.  Little-known resources we use include Someday You’ll Write by Elizabeth Yates and The Writer’s Workshop by Greg Roper.  But of course, the only real approach is to write, write, write…and wrestle determinedly with all the problems that arise when ideas meet a blank computer screen.  NaNo has helped our family with that.

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8 Comments

  1. Naomi says:

    Please congratulate Miss 11 for me! I also surpassed my word count goal of 10,000 words, and it was very fun! Can’t wait to do it again next year!

    Naomi

    1. Annie Kate says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. Our girls did too!

  2. Reagan Ramm says:

    That’s great that so many of your children attempted NaNoWriMo! Very impressive, especially at their ages.

    If you’re looking for more help in novel writing and want to find another writing community, I strongly suggest the One Year Adventure Novel curriculum (www.oneyearnovel.com). It’s a homeschool curriculum that takes you through the steps of writing an adventure novel in a year. I definitely recommend it. The One Year Adventure Novel (OYAN) curriculum also comes with an account to their forum. On the forum, you can connect with other homeschooled writers from all over the country and world. The forum is a great way to meet people like you, and to receive writing advice and get your stories critiqued.

    God bless!

    Reagan Ramm

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Thanks so much for the recommendation!

  3. […] Time with Annie Kate NaNoWriMo and Other Writing Inspiration “A writing community can make a huge […]

  4. JoAnn says:

    Great information. Thank you so much for sharing it all with us. I sent my daughter the information about Kingdom Pen, that looks interesting.

    1. Annie Kate says:

      I wish such things had been around when I was young! I’m glad it may be of use to your daughter.

      Annie Kate

  5. […] writing a novel was a big deal.  Getting copies of the book is an even bigger deal.  (The fact that they are free […]

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