Apr 052012
NaNoWriMo applique

Image by The Sean & Lauren Spectacular via Flickr

Does your child yearn to be a writer?  If you know that, you’re way ahead of the game.  (Lots of us keep that dream a secret!)

No matter how much you’d like to see that dream come true, writing can be a difficult dream  to support.  On one hand, it is a fairly solitary activity.  On the other, we all need feedback and opportunities to improve our craft.  And as a parent, it’s hard to know what your role should be:  Reader?  Editor? Proofreader?  What kind of feedback is helpful?

NaNoWriMo may be just what you and your budding author need.

If you asked “NaNo…who.HUH???” you’re not alone.

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It can be described as: a challenge to write a ‘lousy first draft’ of a 50,000 word novel in the month of November, a virtual community for writers, an opportunity to practice discipline…. and a whole lot of fun. Although I have participated (and won) for several years I do not consider myself among the “truly obsessed” who start at on 11/1 at 12:01 in their local time zones.

There’s room for people like me: a participant, donor and fan. I write. I chat a little. I answer questions and offer encouragement to newbies.  I have fun. And every time I “officially validate” my word count (and win) I believe that it will be the last time. Until the next November rolls around.

I can’t seem to stay away:  it’s a challenge, it’s fun and even though I’ve not yet published a novel, I know the exercise makes me a better writer.

What has this got to do with your kid? The one who is headed to the top of the New York Times’ Bestseller List? NaNoWriMo offers a Young Writers version, with a variety of options. Young Writers set their own word count goals. Some kids participate with their schools, others as independents. Check it out….  the Young Writer’s Program is a great way to fan the flames of literary passion and if you start now you may just be able to get your school to participate.

But be careful — you might just find yourself getting up early to keep your kiddo company AND get your own 1667 words in before you start each of your November days!

P.S. Can’t wait?  There’s Script Frenzy in April and CAMP (!!!!) in June and August. Ready… Set… WRITE.

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Jun 182010

Try as I might, I can’t seem to get off of this baseball theme.  Maybe it’s because my Dad’s birthday and Fathers’ Day are quite close together and, like so many people, I have lots of ‘sports with Dad’ memories.  Like so many parents, he was a Little League volunteer and coach — something I got to see my adult son do a couple of weeks ago.  Maybe it’s in our DNA.

So I was happy to find  this article — Lisa Guerrero’s tribute to her Dad and so many of the their connections and conversations around sports.  I particularly like the notion that, if she wanted something she’d “better get practicing.”

Have you ever wondered about the intensity and competition in a household headed by a professional athlete?  I guess it’s like any other family business — there are parts of it that are attractive and parts that children hope not to repeat once they reach their grown-up years.  If you’ve also wondered then you might want to read about athletes following in their father’s footsteps.

Probably no discussion about kids and parents and sports would be complete without addressing the concept of the ‘out-of-control sports parent.’  It’s amazing how easily we can sometimes let our needs overshadow those of our kids.  An oldie but a goodie, I’ve read this article by Ed Graney before but it’s a wonderful reminder called:  Memo to Sports Dads: Let Your Kids be Kids.