I’ve thought about participating in NaNoWriMo for a while…I thought about it a lot the last three years because College Student has participated (and succeeded!) the last three years. I thought this would be something we could do together. Though he was never particularly interested in doing it with me…he preferred to write with the college crowd. So he’d go to their write-ins every Friday night (and he seemed a little horrified at the idea that I might join him).

Now this year Junior High Kid wants to do NaNoWriMo, too. Junior High Kid is 13. The NaNoWriMo website allows 12-year-olds to sign up independently, but 13-year-olds have to be part of a group (or do the grown-up version). This has not slowed Junior High Kid down too much. He’s planning on talking to his language arts teacher to see if they can get a group together at school. And I have agreed to oversee junior high write-ins at the coffee shop if he can get a group together.

I’m thrilled that he wants to take on this challenge, but I hope he will choose a realistic goal. I don’t think it’s realistic for an eighth grader who is in a community theater production of the Best Christmas Pageant Ever and will have TWO tech weeks in the month of November, not to mention daily rehearsals, homework, after school activities, jazz band four mornings a week before school, lessons on three musical instruments etc. to write 50,000 words in a month. But hey, what do I know?

Besides my kids, there are people in the Iowa SCBWI group who are planning to do NaNoWriMo next month, too. So with all this NaNoWriMo going on around me, I was thinking I should really try it this year, too, except…”how can I do that??? I’ve got a book due in January!” (And because it took longer to get the signed contract/advance back from the publisher, my agent thought it was absolutely reasonable to extend that deadline.)

Then I realized how stupid it was to think I can’t do NaNoWriMo because I’ve got this other book due. Why not do my own personal NaNoWriMo challenge and commit to getting a full draft of this book down in November? I don’t even need 50,000 words. This is the sequel to Do You Know the Monkey Man…the original was only 44,000 words. I’ve got 5,000 words on the sequel already. So, in a sense, I’m already 10,000 words ahead of everyone else who’s doing the official NaNoWriMo challenge. I’ve also got a ten-page outline to work with. If College Student can write a 50,000 word novel next month while keeping up with 6 classes at the university and whatever else he’s got going, I should be able to write 40,000. (And if I do…it’s possible I won’t even need an extension on that deadline…)


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