The Six-Year-Old discovers NaNoWriMo

Love it or hate it, every year National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) inspires hundreds of thousands of writers around the world to spend November in an intense writing sprint. This is my third year doing it (I participated as a rebel this year, committing to complete 50 hours of editing on my novel this month instead of generating 50K new words on a different one).*

For the first time ever, I had an in-house partner in my NaNoWriMo madness. The Six-Year-Old joined the NaNoWriMo Young Writer’s Program, committing to write (and illustrate) 400 words during the month of November.

Yesterday, The Six-Year-Old blew through her goal of writing (and illustrating) 400 words, posting a fabulous More-Than-She-Ever-Thought-Possible final tally of 1779 words.
2013-Winner-Certificate-1 6YO copyNot bad for a girl who was daunted at the prospect of producing even 100 words on November 1.

There is still some editing and fine-tuning of illustrations to be done, of course, but Daddyo and I are thrilled to have a Young Novelist in the family.

Congratulations, The Six-Year-Old!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go purchase some Young Novelist Swag. You and I may be satisfied with digital banners, but The Six-Year-Old has a marked preference for stickers.

*In case you were wondering, yes, I won too. Turns out completing 50 hours of editing in a month is much easier than writing 50,000 new words. It ended up being an exercise in scheduling and simply showing up for work. I feel oddly let down by the lack of writerly angst, so let’s focus on The Six-Year-Old.

About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book will focus on science, and how parents without a science degree can answer their curious child's questions without enrolling in a college level refresher course. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Eleven-Year-Old at, chatting about books and the writing life at, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
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