So, why don't you start a NaNoWriMo Creative Writing Club tomorrow?
It is as simple as the Field of Dreams mantra "if you build it, they will come."
NaNoWriMo starts in on November 1 and you can have them ready to take on the challenge in 5 Easy Steps:
1) Log onto the Young Writer's Program NaNoWriMo site ywp.nanowrimo.org: Do a little research. About 5 minutes on this site is all you need to see how easy this will be. Since it is geared specifically for young writers and educators, it has everything you need to prepare the students. Create a classroom for your club and get things up and running. Check out the workbooks for students and educator resources. I also used our already established kidblog site to create a private NaNoWriMo blog just for these students to have a safe place to share their ideas and writing. I posted the word count poster from the starter kit (order for free from the site) on my wall and had students keep track of their word counts throughout the month. Students who were not even in my English class would pop in to write down word counts or see how others were doing.
2) Get The Word Out: Make flyers (borrow mine by clicking here or use the ones online here) and post them in the hallways and on your door. Tell the kids! Tell them what it is and how crazy the idea is; they will latch onto your enthusiasm. Tell them it is a club so it is completely optional, but that it will be great if they like to write. Use any other avenues you have available to share the idea with parents, such as principle's newsletter or emails home.
3) Hold Your First Meeting: Find the best time that works for you and the students. Even if it is only 30 minutes, it will work. Use a computer lab or if you are 1-1 have the students bring their computers. Tell them about the premise of NaNoWriMo and get them signed up on ywp.nanowrimo.org; you can add them to your class by getting their usernames. I printed for them some specific pages (not all 115 pages) of the YWP Workbooks so they can get started planning out characters and plot.
4) Kick-Off Party: Get the whole group together on November 1 for the first day of writing. Meet in the morning or after school, have snacks or order pizza (get a parent to help), and have everybody typing for a goal of 1667 words. First one to the word count gets a prize. Make it fun and get them writing. It's all about energy and momentum. Print the contracts and writing coupons from the website and hand them out at the party. Make them feel like it is a real commitment.
5) Be Their Biggest Fan: Your job after November 1 is simply to support them. Be there when they need help with a character or a plot idea. See them in the halls and ask them how they are doing. Encourage them after week one when it starts to become daunting and overwhelming. Write them notes of encouragement and unlock the computer lab before school. Support these young creative minds as they need it. Each week I give them a short mini-lesson about a writing technique, such as dialogue or how to create sub-plots (all using ywp website).
If you have time, which you probably feel like you don't, read Chris Baty's book No Plot, No Problem: A Low Stress, High Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days where he tells the story of NaNoWriMo. He makes this sound manageable and somehow logical. And he gives great tips and techniques.
I also splurged for $9.99 and signed up for Writer's Digest's digital magazine subscription. This has given me some fantastic ideas to share with students.
I am doing the NaNoWriMo club this year because I knew I had about 5 girls who wanted to write and would love this project. I have over 20 kids who have shown interest in the club and at least 12 at our club meeting each week. You just don't know who will want to try this out. Try it yourself and see what comes of it! Encourage creative writing in your students.