Susan Midlarsky

author • consultant • tutor | inspiring excellence

A New Story Begins: This Year's NaNoWriMo Program


This is the first year since 2003 that I will not be teaching NaNoWriMo in the classroom. What’s good about this is it frees me up to do it with a whole bunch of area students. I have posted a new program description for our fun, exciting adventure to come.

Here are a few details not included in the program description page:

Each student will get to set his or her own word count goal, usually with some consultation with me. That goal can be fairly flexible to a point in November. The idea of the program is to write as many words in a story form as possible, creating fluency and breaking self-imposed limitations of what we think we can do. The important point is to meet the goal. Editing and improvements can happen later.

As a several-time NaNoWriMo participant and winner, I am in a good position to empathize with the struggles and triumphs of this challenge. I also write alongside the students, so rather than a taskmaster, I am a fellow writer and friend. We inspire each other.

Last year, with my amazing class, they did so well and were so prolific that I had to find new ways to encourage them to continue as they surpassed, then doubled, then tripled their original goals. Everyone surprised themselves, and me. I finally challenged them to a race, and the first person (me) or group (them) would win a prize from the other. It was neck and neck until the very last day, when the group emerged victorious. I treated them all to hot cocoa at the local coffee shop a few days later.

An added dimension this year is that I am working with the YWP to develop teacher training, so even more students can experience the joy, delight and struggles of this roller coaster ride. I welcome contact from teachers who are interested in finding out what it can do for your students.

Sign up for the program now, and find out more about NaNoWriMo’s YWP here.

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