Imogen is sitting in the family room with her netbook balanced on the arm of the sofa. I look over her shoulder and notice she is writing a blog post…. another one. She always seems to be writing. The other girls also spend a lot of time tapping away on their computer keyboards.
All my children love writing and I wonder how this came about. Did they see me sitting at my computer playing about with words and think, “Hey! That looks like fun. Perhaps I should have a go”? Is writing like reading? Do children need to see us enjoying it in order to want to join in?
Imogen looks up and sees me. “Charlotte and I have been discussing the characters for her NaNoWriMo novel.”
NaNoWriMo? National Novel Writing Month. Charlotte and Imogen have signed up to write a 50 000 word novel during the month of November. My Jane Austen girls can’t wait to get started. And they want me to join in.
“Have you registered yet, Mum?”
I haven’t. “I can’t sign up until I decide on my user-name.”
“You could be Mrs Bennet,” Charlotte suggests with a grin. She is writing under the name of Elizabeth Bennet and Imogen has chosen to be her sister, Jane Bennet.
“No!” I protest. I could never be Mrs Bennet. “I’ll think of something myself.” I still have 8 days. That’s plenty of time to get organised. I hear that it’s not important to do any preparation. I don’t need to have a plot and characters all ready to go. As soon as I start writing on Tuesday 1st November, ideas and inspiration will begin to flow. I hope that’s true! Actually it sounds feasible. I’ve experienced this before.
The girls and I have read Chris Baty’s book No Plot? No Problem! Chris Baty is the founder of NaNoWriMo. We now know anyone can write a novel. The biggest problem people have is procrastination. There are a lot of would-be novelists out there, including me, that never actually make a start. Months ago, I had an idea for a children’s book but the idea has remained an idea. I haven’t yet written a single word of the actual story. I keep thinking: I’ll get around to it one day… But if we sign up for NaNoWriMo and commit ourselves… who knows what we can produce by the end of November!
I am looking forward to starting my novel, and putting aside special writing time each day. Even more, I am looking forward to sharing my progress with my children. And reading their writings too. We are going to encourage each other along and share our family passion.
If I were the sort of person that planned out school work and worried about covering the curriculum, I might say, “That’s English writing all sorted out for the month of November!” But I won’t say that because that might make novel writing sound like school work and something that has to be done. And ‘school work’ doesn’t sound very appealing. Following a passion sounds so much more exciting.
I think we are going to have enormous fun during November. We are choosing to take on a challenge and I am sure we are going to learn so much as our novels take shape.
It might be a bit quiet here at my blog for a few weeks as the girls and I compose our stories. Perhaps I should hang a sign on my blog: Gone to write a novel. Will be back soon!
Does anyone else’s family share a passion for writing? Will you accept the NaNoWriMo challenge? Will you have a novel written by the last day of November?