Writing contest: KP first

Age 11

When Ms. Pagoda first announced NaNoWriMo in fifth grade, I hated writing. I didn’t like typing an email, writing a thank you note, freewriting, writing about a given topic, and certainly not novel writing (or so I thought). So when she announced that we could write a novel in one month, I thought, “No way in heck!”

I couldn’t see why anyone would want to write thousands of words for fun. In my opinion, that would be a homework assignment of nightmares. Therefore, I left at the end of English class thinking about how glad I was to not be wasting away all of my free time hunched over a computer in a dark room while trying to type an entire novel in 30 days, literally living a bad dream. And I might have gone the rest of my life thinking that writing was as terrible as having school on a Saturday had my friend Lida not come up behind me and asked me that life-changing question: “Do you want to write a novel with me?”

All of a sudden, my brain went on overload like a smoke alarm store on fire.

“What did she say? Is this a dream? It might be fun! No way! You hate writing! Are you crazy? Yes, yes, yes! No, no, no! She’ll feel bad if you say no! This is your chance!” My mind was shouting so many things at once, I could barely hear my own voice as it tentatively muttered, “Sure.”

I figured that I probably wouldn’t have to do much actual writing, just give some ideas. I loved making up story lines and scenes in my head, but I greatly disliked writing them down. “Maybe it won’t be all that bad,” I told myself.

About an hour later, Lida and I came up with ideas for our novel, and I was really getting into it. “Maybe it won’t be all that bad” turned into “This might actually be kind of OK.”

The next day, Lida and I decided to write our own novels. But I was ready! On the first day of November in English class, I took out my iPad and wrote. When I wasn’t rehearsing my part in the after-school musical, I wrote. At home, I zipped through my homework and wrote. “This might actually be kind of okay” turned into “This is really fun!”

At the end of November, I looked back at the NaNoWriMo website and was very proud of what I saw. I had written every day in November and had more than doubled my measly goal of 10,000 words with a total of 20,588 words! And I will take on NaNoWriMo in 11 days with determination, a great story line, and a goal of 30,000 words. Thanks to Lida, I tried something new and loved it! ◀

Editor’s note: NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, a nonprofit that helps people “find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds — on and off the page.”

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