NaNoWriMo Nerves

Many of you may know about National Novel Writing Month, which is November. I’m getting extremely nervous! For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is an event that has at this time expanded beyond the boundaries of the USA to several other countries around the globe. It’s all about the creativity and challenge of writing a novel in the span of one month. To learn more about it, check out the website for more detailed information.

While I’ve know about NaNoWriMo for many years, I’ve never been involved before. I’m actually doing something even more nerve-wracking. I’m encouraging my girls to take part, as well. We’re incorporating this as part of our Composition course and we’re getting more familiar with creating digital art in Gimp. (Gimp is free to download!)

Any project you want to do well should start with some sort of plan. For me, that is especially true when the project looms above you, a seemingly insurmountable Mt. Everest. Here’s what I’m using to teach writing skills using NaNoWriMo.

YouTube Tutorials

  • Katytastic – She’s easy to listen to, inserts humor randomly, 4 stars! We watched her videos on character creation and world building.
  • Author Andrew Butcher – His instructions are clear and easy to understand. He doesn’t tell everything, though, because he offers a writing course you have to pay for. We just gleaned for now. From seeing his short videos, though, I’d definitely like to take that course later.
  • RandomHouseInc – This is the only publishing company I’ve checked out so far but when studying to excel, it’s a good idea to study the masters. Random House has been in business a long time. We found a nifty video featuring different graphic designers talking about how they design book covers before we started making our own in Gimp.

NaNoWriMo Curriculum

  • – This is where you’ll find the downloadable curriculum packets for your children or small group. There are also larger classroom packs available to order at reasonable fees. Teachers and students can create their own accounts through this site, though the teacher will be redirected to the main nanowrimo page.
  • National Novel Writing Month YouTube Channel – You can watch live-stream webinars here. There are also live write-ins you can take part in if there are no groups in your area to connect with.
  • Camp NaNoWriMo – The Nanowrimo folks host two training camps you can attend online at different times of the year. You can find out more about those by clicking the link. I haven’t tried it myself, but I think my oldest and I would enjoy this.

Other Helpful Links With Tips

  • World Building – When you write a novel, the more thought you put into it, the more believable your story will be. For people like me who may have trouble getting started beyond just a couple names and a general conflict idea, try using a general geography worksheet like the one from The HomeSchool Mom blog, filling in the relevant information as it pertains to the world you wish to create.
  • Character Creation – Having trouble picturing your characters? Try creating them at Doll Divine! Some of the designs you create can be saved, but not all of them. And none of them should be used as art for your book since many of the artists who design these doll games try to make a living with their art. But it does help you create a picture in your head if you have problems with that. The NaNoWriMo student packet has a fabulous interview for you to fill out for each character. Super helpful!
  • Making a Story Outline – I’m currently testing out an app called Character Story Planner on my android tablet. It’s a free app, so there are ads but they aren’t intrusive to the work area. I plan on doing most of my work on my laptop but apps can be helpful. I’m still trying to figure out how it works but so far, it seems to be nifty! With the option to add photos to each character page and your main story page, it’s a win for me. Note! You must fill in a title first before you can add characters!
  • Habitica – To help me stay on track with my over-stuffed schedule, I’m using Habitica, a free RPG type app which helps you stay on track forming good habits and tackling daunting to-do lists. It keeps me on track because I earn armor and find pets and food and all kinds of nifty things. The best thing about this app is the kids love it, too. My oldest is two levels above me! I run it on my android tablet and the girls run it on their cellphones.

That’s all I have time for this week! I hope something I shared this week is helpful or insightful or just plain interesting. Have a great week!


My first attempt at creating cover art in Gimp ~ art by Melody Kittles

“1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was unformed and void, darkness was on the face of the deep…” ~ Genesis 1: 1-2a (CJB)



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