NaNoWriMo · 16 November 2006

For many writers around the country and around the globe, November is National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo. People who have “write the next great novel” on their list of things to do, participate in NaNoWriMo. People who just like to write participate. People who are just a little crazy write all month to see if they can finish a somewhat coherent story of 50,000 words or more in just one month. One month. At least two Cedarcrest faculty members and one former student are crazy enough to participate in this endeavor.

As you might gather from this column, I like to write. It is a relaxing pastime. But I never really thought that I would try writing a novel since I could barely write a decent short story. I took a short story writing class in college but never finished a story there. All the things that I did were poor attempts to tell unimaginative stories. Consequently, I never really thought that writing a novel would happen for me even though I have been able to put together passable short stories since my writing class. Enter Tim Kennedy.

Tim Kennedy is the media teacher at Cedarcrest High School. Last year, he came to our school from Bellevue Community College. He is an instructor with great passion and a desire to get the most from his students whether they are writing a script, making a movie, creating digital images, or broadcasting an online radio station. He is also a demanding colleague.

Tim wants to get the most from his fellow teachers as well as his students. We are collaborating on a special project this year that will hopefully come to fruition in May 2007 (more on that later). Last year when he was a first year high school teacher, I was supposed to be his mentor and help him learn the ropes of teaching at Cedarcrest. I helped him in some ways but he helped me in more ways than I could have imagined. He challenged me to think in different ways. Tim’s energy and enthusiasm helped me to try and become a better teacher. And his desire to write a novel turned into a challenge for me. Tim told me that I should participate in NaNoWriMo. He told me that I needed to write a novel in thirty days.

Tim comes into my classroom almost daily. We chat about work stuff and throw ideas around about classes. He knows I like to write and he often comes to me and says, “I need a script for my digital cinema class.” Having no time to do so, I still do it anyway. That is how his chiding in October turned into a full blown challenge to write a novel in November.

People who have “write a novel” on their list of things to do should check out The website is a way to put some accountability into an absurd challenge. People like Tim Kennedy and myself will keep track of our word counts for each other and the world to see. The originator of NaNoWriMo says that most likely, those with the least amount of time to do anything extra will be the ones to complete the challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. (That comes out to about 1,700 words per day which is like writing 3 of these columns per day.) If I am to be one of them, I need to stop writing this column and get writing my novel.

November usually means Thanksgiving to me. This year it is NaNoWriMo. Thanks Tim for giving me the challenge. Happy NaNoWriMo.

© 2006 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Published 16 November 2006 The RiverCurrentNews


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