This year, I’m teaching two creative writing classes at our homeschool co-op. The first class is geared towards middle schoolers and is designed to get their descriptive juices flowing. We talk about choosing their words so carefully that the reader will “see” exactly what they’re trying to convey. We cover a lot of grammar in that class, too.
The second class is intended more for high school students, and as part of their coursework, they all signed up for National Novel Writing Month. In the young writer’s program, teachers (or parents) can set the word count for their students, so instead of the 50,000 word goal, I chose 10,000 words. The bonus for the educator: I could sign up to write just 10,000 words, too.
This was our first year trying this as a group. At first the kids were a little apprehensive – write a novel? Forget about the one-month deadline – write a novel??? So all during the month of October, we went through the workbook NaNoWriMo has online. And as we did, you could just hear all those gears (including mine!) turning. Each week they developed a different aspect of their novels, and each week they had more and more to share.
Then came the big day.
November 1 everyone began writing, and we logged in our word counts as we went. At the beginning of each weekly class meeting, we updated each other on how things were progressing, how our novels were changing, how we hoped to get them done in time. Our last class in November was held two days before the deadline, and everyone was so excited. I still had a ways to go to meet my word count, as did a couple of the kids, but we were all determined.
And…we did it!
And it was SO much fun! The following week we had a party with the rest of the co-op students celebrating their accomplishment. And we’re not done yet! My students are currently in the process of revising their novels, and we’re going to get them printed before the end of the school year.
If you have teens in your life, consider bringing them along with you on your writing journey. Set similar writing goals, share your ideas with one another, and attend conferences like Write2Ignite! together. As often happens when you “travel along” with a teen, you’ll probably find it to be an exciting and memorable adventure!