It’s official – my ten year old daughter has signed up for the NaNoWriMo Young Writers program. I am so utterly proud and excited that I could shout it from the rooftops!
Miss 10 has had the writing bug for a while now. Always has her head in a book, always tapping away at the computer on various short stories. She has a fabulous imagination and it comes across in a wonderfully cheeky and humorous way in her writing. I remember reading a short she wrote not long ago that began with her MC in a darkened forest, creeping through the undergrowth towards something sinister – I had no idea what it was but I knew and felt it in the story ahead – how incredible she could do this to me! Her power of description frankly astounded me – with little embellishment (after all, how many 10 year olds have learnt to navigate the mine field of adverbs in narrative writing?) she transported me into this forest and then scared the living daylights out of me with the next scene! I had to take a step back and wonder just who (or what) had inhabited my daughters mind, for her to come up with these things!
Lately I’ve been encouraging her to ‘just write’. An MS Word document has a veritable lolly-shop of cool effects and fonts to get carried away with, so I’ve been preaching the virtues of write now, play (or edit, in my case) later. She’s picked it up pretty fast, which is why, after reading her latest story today, I had to ask her if she was interested in attacking the NaNo YWP for herself.
It took all of about ten seconds for her to say “I’ll do it!”, before I’d signed her up and we’d filled out her profile. We thought about the word target for a little while. We discussed how long it had taken her to write some of her stories in the past, how she had the ability to sit at the computer for entire afternoons after school and write. At first, the idea of a word count freaked her out a little. Miss 10 has a slight fear of failure and of disappointing others, so her committment to a word count target, was like saying “Yes, I will go over to that hungry looking lion and stick my head in its mouth for 30 seconds.” But once we’d made some calculations and broke down what she was currently writing per day, she realised she could set her target at 15k. That’s 500 words per day, which she added after, would be “easy as, mum”.
So now I have not only my own excitement and anticipation for NaNoWriMo, but my daughter’s to contend with too. I’m hoping it doesn’t become too overwhelming! I am looking forward to sharing this experience with her – as my eldest, she sometimes misses out on quality time with me. This is something we can share together – the highs, the lows, the blocks, the flows.
Have you had a child take on the NaNoWriMo YWP challenge? How did they go? What were the challenges they (and you) faced? I would love to hear from anyone who has shared a NaNo with their child.