Gema is an 18-year old from Miami, FL. She loves reading and writing young adult fiction and claims to pass out in the presence of sterile wit.
November is National Novel Writing Month and over a 100,000 people signed up to write 50,000 words in one month. Adults and teens alike have taken on thirty long days of either putting a finger into the brain’s throat to regurgitate half-decent words or chipping the stubborn writer’s block to small chunks of rocks that can easily be walked over.
Yes, it’s painful and difficult and can sometimes cause for the writer to trip over the line that segregates the creative from the clinically insane. (Not that it’s a bad thing; those straightjackets can be pretty comfy.) Perhaps I’ve tripped over that line one too many times, but I think it’s an activity worth trying if you’re a teen.
Determination and Focus:
50,000 words in one month makes that research paper you’ve had to do for the past couple of weeks look like child’s play. If you do the math, you’d have to write about 2,000 words a day to finish on that final day. But even if you don’t clock in 2,000 words at the end of the day, the mere attempt is a good exercise in determination. If the writer is as determined to give 2,000 words a day a shot, it has a chance of translating over to schoolwork.
Sitting in front of the computer every single day can also help the writer’s focus. With stretched fingers, an iPod blasting a sweet soundtrack and a game face, it’ll eventually be easy to block out the world and focus on the project at hand.
It’s also an exercise on deadlines, which is what most teens need to prepare for when the time comes to apply to college, jobs and long college assignments. Time management and quick glances at the calendar are skills worth having if you plan on ever turning in an assignment on time.
Placeholder for Lies:
Not to say that teenagers lie (ahem) but they do tend to be on the creative side. We see it mostly in gossip. If Person A says “John has a pimple on his forehead” the message will be distorted to “John has herpes on his mouth” by the time it reaches Person M. NaNoWriMo can hold all the creative twists to the small bits of truths that teens hear or say. Like any novel, they will be able to create a world to escape to in this month. I think paper is better than the topsy-turvy world of drugs that many resort to.
Sense of Accomplishment:
50,000 thousand words in a month! Some of the bits may be incoherent and others are written in a language that your subconscious mind created and your chest might still feel constrained and pressured because of all the times your family felt it necessary to put you inside the straightjacket, but it’s 50,000 words in a month! The feeling of buckling down and writing every day and accomplishing something as grand as this is like winning the Principle’s Honor Roll. If you can do this, you can do anything that the teachers assign.
So if you weren’t able to participate in NaNoWriMo this year, start clearing your calendar for November 2010! Determination, focus, a place where lies won’t cause a Gossip Girl episode in your personal life and a sense of accomplishment after you’ve committed to a goal; you’re not just writing a novel, you’re bettering your entire life!