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NaNoWriMo for Budding Young Writers

G1 has always said he wanted to be a writer so I suggested that he join NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program and he did. So have I… to keep him company. I’ve even signed up for a Novlr account so I have a place to keep my writing stored. No more excuses, just writing. If you want more flexibility for your writing, then check out these articles for a whole host of writing apps that will help you throughout the month:

I haven’t used many of these apps so I’ll refer you to the real writers for their opinions.

How does it work?

Well, the full details are here, but essentially, your budding writer has to sign up for a YWP NaNoWriMo account, set a word count challenge, and start writing on November 1. Throughout the month of November, your young writer can update his word count under “My NaNoWriMo”. Validation of the word count can begin from November 20 onwards. The last submission must be before 11:59 PM at your local time on November 30. If your writer meets the word count, he wins!

Before you send your child writing, be sure to check out the resource page together. You can:

  • download wordbooks
  • read pep talks from published novelists
  • connect with other young writers
  • challenge a friend
  • get a web badge like the one above

Setting up a word count

The moment I mention NaNoWriMo, most people freak out and think 50,000 words. Well, that’s the regular NaNoWriMo word count target. On the young writers program, you can choose your own word count – preferably one that is a bit of a stretch, of course.

So what is a challenging word count for a young writer? There are word count guidelines you can follow based on age and whether you want an “easy”, “intermediate” or “hard” target. Alternatively, you can let your child calculate his own word count by using the word count calculator.

Here’s how it works:

Your child will write for 10 minutes at the pace he expects to work during NaNoWriMo month. At the end of 10 minutes, your child will get a word count for the number of words he wrote in the 10 minutes. Then he will have to answer a question of how much time he expects to spend writing during November. From there, the word count calculator will work out a word limit for your child.

For example, if your child writes 100 words in 10 minutes and can only commit to 30 minutes daily during November, his word count would be 100 words x 3 x 30 days – or 9000 words.

You can also set an arbitrary word count. If you don’t set a word count, your target will be automatically set for 30,000. You have until the end of November 24 (your time zone) before they lock in your word count. If your child is ambitious enough, he can also choose to write 50,000 words – there’s nothing that says he can’t.

So are you ready for November? Join us and get ready to write!

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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