When November comes, the trees are still in full colorful bloom, the air is crisp and clean from the fall rains. It’s also time a great time for writing… When my teen was a 9th grader, we discovered National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Have you heard of it, too? It is a writing program, offered for students from elementary to high school, which supports and encourages creative writing efforts.
My daughter wanted to try her hand at writing stories. We decided to join the fun and spent November focusing on creative writing. We put a hold on our other courses, and just did writing for our homeschool all month! My daughter loved it! We have made a tradition of this in our home, and continued with NaNoWriMo for the following two years as well.
National Novel Writing Month
My daughter often liked to write on the computer and sometimes I treated her to tea at the coffee shop…
When we were getting ready for NaNovWriMo, I ordered a great little book, called No Plot? No Problem! Novel Writing Kit, as a guide. This book is geared to the high school student and is written by the founder of NaNoWriMo, Chris Baty, a veteran author himself.
No Plot? No Problem! is a low-stress, high velocity guide to writing a novel in 30 days. My daughter wanted to try to write a novel, but your child doesn’t have to have that goal, to participate in this great writing event. How about just working on a short story?
No Plot? No Problem! is full of creative-writing tips, strategies, and tricks, as well as do’s and don’ts for writers. It is broken down into two parts. The first part is called the introduction, which includes all 0f Section 1 and focuses on:
- How to prepare for NaNoWriMo
- Making a writing schedule
- Short review of concepts such as plot, setting, character
- Stories from dozens of NaNoWriMo veterans.
Section 2 is a helpful guide to writing, week by week. This is designed to get you through the month of writing, and includes:
- Encouragement for getting started
- Exercises for sparking creativity
- Taming Your Inner Editor
- Writing exercises by the week
- Help with writing, even though you don’t have a plot yet.
Taming the Inner Editor was the most helpful chapter for us. I love this quote:
“The fear of doing things imperfectly turns what should be fun, creative endeavors into worrisome tasks.”
And who can write and express themselves creatively, if they are feeling criticized or worried about editing while they are writing! Sometimes the hardest criticism can be coming from within. It is so important to separate our creative writing efforts, from our editing efforts. This book is full of helpful ways to get past this fear, by “leaving your Inner Editor behind” and focusing on just getting the words on the page.
My daughter had the fun of writing freely. Then later, we revisited her work as part of her English studies. That gave us a fun way to practice revising and editing later on, separately from her writing time in November.
Whenever my daughter hit a hard place in her writing, we got out No Plot? No Problem, and she always found just the right exercise or encouraging quote to help her along her way.
If you are looking for a helpful encouragement for your high schooler’s creative writing, my family recommends No Plot? No Problem. It is available from Chronicle Books here. It is such a nice way to spend some of November, cozy in your house, with some hot chocolate, and creative writing activities for your kids to do.
Betsy blogs at BJ’s Homeschool about high school and college and all the fun of homeschooling the early years too. As a veteran homeschooler and the mom of a college student and homeschool grad, Betsy also offers free help to homeschool families, She is the author of Homeschooling High School with College in Mind.
-originally published 2015