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?

Post a Comment

  1. Haven't even read the post yet, but must comment first!
    How can a post like this have no comments yet??
    It is waiting for ME!
    Yes, all signed up and can't wait for Nov. 1st so I can write a mediocre novel....(well okay, confession time: I hope to write a brilliant novel. Do you and your daughters have the same desire, Sue?)

    Hope others will join us in this fabulous quest for writing, writing, and more writing...
    much love from across the globe,

  2. Suzie,

    You said,"Haven't even read the post yet, but must comment first!" I am laughing! Thank you.

    We are all going to write BRILLIANT novels. We will read each other's and have enormous fun. It won't matter if they don't turn out to be best sellers like The Book!! We will enjoy them anyway.

    Each day I hear of more and more people signing up for NaNoWriMo. There's still a few days left. Suzie, perhaps your comment will inspire others to give it a go.

    God bless!

  3. Writers AND Jane Austen fans?!? What more could you ask for?? :-) Best of luck to Elizabeth and Jane Bennet in NaNoWriMo. My girls love writing too. My 17-year-old does it practically every waking hour. :-)

  4. And of course, good luck to YOU, too! Happy writing!

  5. I don't feel called to do the novel thing this year, but have a little question:
    How many pages IS the average novel?
    (Is 10K words the average length of a novel?)

  6. Thank you, Stephanie!

    We've just celebrated a wedding. My eldest daughter was married yesterday. Today we are too tired to think about anything. But...on Monday all thoughts will be on our novels. We can't wait to get started!

    Perhaps there's still time for your daughter to sign up for NanoWriMo!

    Lovely to hear from you.

  7. I'm not sure what the average length of a novel is. Chris Baty told how he decided on 50 000 words for NaNoWriMo in his book "No Plot? No Problem! Longer than a novella but maybe enough words to form a shortish novel? An achievable goal for a month's work? I'll have to reread the right bit of the book.


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