As I have mentioned before, I am a romantic suspense author. I don’t just write for fun, I write for an actual living. Because of this, of course, writing, reading and grammar and punctuation skills are pretty important to me. But sitting down and doing actual lessons, like would be done in school, feels unnatural and strange to me. The way these things are learned in school just don’t make sense to me – subject and predicate, clauses, blah blah blah – while I use those things in my work, learning their actual names and doing a dozen worksheets a week for twelve years didn’t really help me with my writing.
I decided, as I did last year, to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. National Novel Writing Month is an annual event that takes place in November. It is a personal challenge to each participant to write 50,000 words between November 1-30. I enjoy it because the deadline challenges me to write without editing, without filtering my words and trying to make everything absolutely perfect. I get all of my novel (or most, anyway) out, and then go back and edit later.
This year, it is doing more than just that for me. I learned that there is a version of it for younger people, specifically for kids, called the Young Writers Program. And when I talked to my kids about it, they were really excited about the idea of participating. Their version allows them to set their own goal, rather than trying to write the 50,000 words that may be too challenging for them. Both C and J have decided to participate, setting their goal at around 10,000 and 5,000 words respectively. They’ve been planning their ideas, their covers, figuring out characters and settings. They’re not nearly as detailed as I am, but this is their first time participating, and writing any sort of “book.” It’s a learning experience, a chance for them to stretch their creativity, their writing skills, and do something that will seem (to them, if to no one else) monumental.
This week, we’re reading The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, watching scary movies and doing some last minute prep for Halloween. We’re doing a slightly scaled back version of our usual academics, and will of course, go trick-or-treating Thursday night. But on Friday, we begin. We will spend the next month adding daily to our word counts and writing what we hope will be complete books by the end of the month. Then will come editing and revising and polishing and getting things prepared for publication. My book will be officially published once the finishing touches are put on, and C and J both like the thought of having theirs officially published as well. We will have to wait and see how that goes, and if they still actually have any interest in doing that when it’s all said and done – I hope they will, but who knows?
I’m simply looking forward to the opportunity to share something I love so much with my kids, giving them the opportunity to feel the rush I feel in starting with nothing and ending with a world that is entirely my own creation. It’s a chance for us to share something unique and exciting and fun, to bond over something special to me, and I hope it will end up being special to them.
And like so much in our lives, it’s something that wouldn’t happen if they went to public school instead of homeschooling.
- Put the Grammar Girl in Your Writing Toolbox (mommamindy.wordpress.com)
- I won’t be able to watch a movie of my own books (or at least, I’ll have to cover my eyes) (wendy-miller.com)
- Nerd alert: My go-to grammar and writing books (nicolewray.me)