Three-quarters of American high school seniors lack proficiency in writing, according to the most recent survey by the National Assessment of Educational Progress. 40% of those who took the ACT writing exam last year lacked the reading and writing skills necessary to complete successfully a college-level English composition class. I once was one of those students, not ready for English 101 when I started university. Even though I loved writing, I struggled with spelling and vocabulary. I was determined to be the best journalist I could be (and get A’s in my English classes) so I practiced writing. I journaled daily, read about writing strategies and joined the campus writing club. I also participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).
Every November, the National Novel Writing Month creative writing project encourages participants to write. Last year, over 431,626 people participated, logging in their written work on the NaNoWriMo website. On the site, you can read pep talks and connect with other writers. Sure, we shouldn’t wait until late autumn to write but if you’ve been seeking inspiration, NaNoWriMo is better late than never.
This year, my NaNoWriMo goals are to 1) write every day (even if I can only crank out a paragraph- and social media posts don’t count . Sorry, Twitter. Technically, the goal is to work on a novel but sure, why not a couple of blog posts? 2) Reach the goal of 10,000 written words by December 1st (NaNoWriMo asks writers to write 50,000 words but I’m realistic with myself).
Why write? Writing is essential for everyone in order to be successful in school and in the workplace. Students write in order to demonstrate knowledge and express ideas. Outside of the classroom, writing is necessary skill for employment. We need to write well in order to express ideas, persuade and advocate.
I write to communicate. I write to help clear my head and escape. I write to understand and be understood. I write to connect with others. I write in order to discover. I write to express myself. I write to transmit. I write for change. I write for money. I write for the purpose of being published or the intention of being read. I write because I’m good at it. I write in order to get better at it. I write because I love stories and storytelling. I write for love of the craft. I write for the sake of writing itself. I write because I can’t imagine not doing so. I write because I must.
So, write on, dear reader… And only 9,578 words to go.