NaNoWriMo, also known as National Novel Writing Month, begins Nov. 1. Billed as "30 days of literary abandon," it’s the time to write that novel! You know the one. The one that’s been percolating in the back of your brain for longer than you care to remember? Just go to the site and register.
The whole point of NaNoWriMo is that you can’t get it wrong. You simply need to write 50,000 words that only you will read. You can hop from scene to scene, work on character sketches, scenic descriptions, whatever you’d like. As long as you get the word count meter to progress and ultimately reach 50,000 words. All you have to lose is some sleep. Although you can’t really ignore your kids for 30 days.
So for those of you who will be NaNo-ing with kids at home, here is some semi-serious advice:
- Cook now. See what you can prepare and freeze so your kids will not be on a first name basis with the pizza guy by the end of November.
- Stock up on canned fruit. A solid month of five fruits may not make the food pyramid purists happy but it’s better than a solid month with no fruits or vegetables at all.
- Show the kids how to do laundry. Any child older than 10 can do a load of laundry in a pinch, switch it to the dryer and fold and put it away. Younger kids? Teach them to sort the clothes by color to get you started and let you know when the buzzer signals the end of a load.
- Print a flier for your door. You’d be surprised how often it’s someone who seriously ought to know better who pokes his head in the door to whisper (as if that’s less of an interruption) a question. Something like "Where are the napkins?" Something that an adult seriously should not have to ask.
- Work out a plan with your kids. Let them know that when you’re writing, you are available in a true emergency but you’d really appreciate it if they could do something quiet for an hour or two so you can work on your opus. Tell them you’ll all celebrate when you reach 50,000 words.
- Set up a homework space where you work. Bring in a table or a desk so your child has a place to do homework or color—a way to hang out with you and “work” while you work. You can put a "Writer at Work" sign on the desk for him, too, if he’s young.
- Post your word count, in the form of a graph, on the door of the place where you work. As the word count mounts, everyone will get excited. It makes it easier to keep going in those last days of November—for all of you!
- Stop by and say hello!