By Melody Pickle, Writing Specialist, WAC, Kaplan University Writing Center
Crazy Drafts – We encourage crazy or bad first drafts as part of the writing process for students. Sometimes, we all need motivation to get the words out on paper as a way to achieve a goal.
Joining National Novel Writing Month or NANOWRIMO is one way to get motivated to achieve a writing goal. Even if you have never thought about writing a novel, you should try it.
1) It makes you write every day or most every day if you want to reach your 50,000 word goal. This might actually help you get into the habit of writing . . . the habit of getting your thoughts down so you can write that article or book.
2) It encourages you to join a community of writers, which encourages more writing.
3) It is one of those crazy things for which you can say, “Yep, I did that.”
4) It is a lot of writing practice. We all need that, right? Getting words out on the page is a big deal, even if they are not perfect.
5) It gives you are reason to stay up late and write, madly. Face it; creating something like this might actually be better than your favorite TV show(s).
6) You are afraid to try it.
7) You don’t think you can write a novel.
8) Others are doing it. As of right now, there are 164,601 people already signed up to do it. Last year over 300,000 adults participated and 80,000 youth.
9) You can ask your kids do it with the Young Writers Program.
10) You can get Pep Talks from people like James Patterson.
Sure, there are critics that say this is really no way to write a novel. However, I am a big believer in practices that get us writing. Anytime we are asking our brains to formulate words and put them on the page, there is communication and writing practice happening. This includes when we do it late at night eating chocolate and drinking loads of coffee. Even then, we are still using our inner speech (Vygotsky) and forming words and ideas. Even if we don’t write and novel or write all 50,000 words, getting words on the page helps us organize and know our thoughts, or at least begin to know them. This is big stuff. We can also encourage students to participate in this or other creative writing events.
If you are thinking about doing it, this is your encouragement to sign-up now. If you have never heard of NANOWRIMO, go to the website and see what it is all about. Most years several of us in the KUWC and on the WAC team participate. Let us know if you are participating or if you have advice you tell students when they are up late – writing madly.