For young people, there is a special community, called the Young Writers Program, where kids of all ages can join in the challenge with their teachers and parents. In 2015, more than 80,000 students and educators took part, not counting the teens who participated, as many do, in the main NaNo community. Kids generally set their own word limits, and aren’t bound, of course, by the 50,000 goal, which is about the length of The Great Gatsby. For a little taste of the excitement involved in plotting, world building, and sharing stories, take a look at some of the many videos created by past teen participants by searching “NaNoWriMo2016” on YouTube.
In Austin, the place for young writers to learn more about the NaNoWriMo experience is at the Austin Public Library. At Faulk Central Library, kids ages 10 and older are invited to attend a NaNoWriMo kickoff Tuesday, November 1, at 5:30 p.m. called “What’s Your Story.” This will be followed by “Keep It Up,” a meeting halfway into the month, on November 15. At the end of the intense and fabulous month there will be a celebratory meeting on December 1, when kids can talk about their experiences, learn a little about how to revise the first draft they have created, and even share their work.
In addition to the library activities, if you have girls in 3rd through 8th grade who are aspiring writers, they may be interested in a couple of workshops happening on Saturday, November 5, as part of the We Are Girls TX conference. Here’s the schedule.
The NaNoWriMo activities at the library are sponsored by the Badgerdog writing program, which operates year-round and sponsors spring break and summer writing workshops for elementary, middle, and high school kids all over Austin.
Cecily Sailer, Programs Manager for the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation, says her best advice is that kids of all ages should have fun with NaNoWriMo and set their own, personal goals. “If you spend November writing a little more than normal, you win!” says Cecily. “And make sure to talk about what you’re creating with someone else—take it outside the keyboard or notebook and into the world.”
Need more inspiration?