Writing. Some people really enjoy it and others...well...they don’t. I fall into the “enjoy it when I’m in the mood” camp. It’s a great release, the ability to articulate one’s ideas onto paper is just amazing to me. Of course lately I haven’t been in the mood for writing-which sadly includes blogging-. The ideas are there, I've even started a few blog post, but the desire just fizzes. I blame lack of sleep and far too many commitments. So what do you do when life’s comings and goings impede on your desire to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard)? You do a rewrite. Yes, I’m rewriting our life. Slashing commitments from our schedule and slowly retreating back into our little den, similar to life circa 2011, but with a few more friends, and a co-op that we may or may not do again next school year.
Our move back to the states was a curse and a blessing all in one. We, finally, have all of the opportunities that I wanted the boys to have and experience, but those opportunities bring with them commitments of our time, money, energy, as well as a whole lot of extra stress. Which has a tendency to zap what little energy reserve a mother of three has to start with and I’ll admit I’m a bit selfish. At the end of the day, after teaching, feeding, cleaning, refereeing, and generally keeping all three of them alive I still want to have energy for my own hobbies and interests. I don’t currently have that and it depresses me-which isn't good-.
As a way to help usher in our lighter load and to help motivate my fingers to get back into typing I thought participating in NaNoWriMo -instead of just talking about possibly participating one year in the near or distant future- would be a good idea. Then, I found out they have an option for kids and I got really excited and the little wheels in my sleep deprived brain started turning.
I've mentioned before that we were moving to a one subject a day type of school schedule and we've been doing really well with it. It’s removed a lot of the pressure that comes with feeling like you have to cover everything in one very long day. Instead we focus our energies on one core subject for that day and highlight things that need a bit of repetition to stick, usually using games or relaxed question and answer sessions before dinner.
After looking over the NaNoWriMo information I thought what better way to expand on this idea then by focusing just on reading and writing for the month of November. Their readings would be a mixture mostly fiction with a healthy dose of books that tied in history and science so those things aren't completely neglected. They would also still be free to play their educational math apps and other little games. I may even have them do a math lesson or two if they experience writers block, but our overall focus would be on letting our imaginations come to life on paper. They both already love telling their own stories at bedtime and General Disarray has been working hard on a series of short stories over the past few months, this just seems like a natural progression for their already creative minds.
This will also be a great segue for them as well as myself into what life is going to be like after November. Less distractions, more time to pursue our creative selves in the comfort of our home, and more emphasis on being present in what we’re doing instead of just going through the day to day motions and checking things off of a calendar. Feel free to call us hippies, it really doesn't matter as long as we’re enjoying what we’re doing -at least 90% of the time-.
Now you might be asking “Can your kids really write a novel in a month?” Maybe. Hell, I don’t even know if I can get it done. The beautiful thing about NaNoWriMo for kids is that they get to set their own word count, and they have a nifty word count calculator to help kids determine what their goal should be. Now obviously General Disarray will have a higher goal count than his brother because they are at two different stages in their writing abilities. For General Disarray I really want him to just write, I figure the more he does it the better he will get at it. I also think he has enough ideas with his short stories to really produce a fun novel. With Professor Chaos this is more about helping him see, in an applied way, how a story grows and develops. Basically, it will be for teaching him the parts of a story and helping him to learn how to go into more detail and tie parts of a story together. Since he struggles with writing we’ll be using dictation for his story.
I plan to take it a step further though and after it’s all over I’ll print out their novels and have them illustrate them, then we’ll bind them and they’ll have their very own book. Told in their own words, illustrated with their own art work.
NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program does make it easier to do something of this magnitude. There are plenty of resources on their website for anyone interested in giving it a go with their kids. They even offer a free PDF workbook (three versions so you can pick the one that fits your child’s grade range) which we’ll be using to kick off the program towards the end of this month.
Hopefully, we’ll all come away from this with a little more passion for creating words on paper (or electronic paper) and three awesome novels.
Copyright(c)2013 Rayven Holmes