Fourteen! Fourteen of approximately 25 young writers met their word count goal for NaNoWriMo this year. Fourteen Jr. High students won National Novel Writing Month because their AMAZING teachers at Mount Vernon Junior High School, Julie Kissinger, David Purvis, and Julie Jackson rocked it by setting the program up with their students, staying late on Fridays so the students could work on their novels, even providing snacks to satiate hungry bellies, and giving encouragement when student willpower faltered.

Awesome is one of the few words I can think of to describe it.

The fourteen students who met their word count goal get to take a field trip to Barnes and Noble to pick out two books. One for their own library, and one for the school library. The book for the school library will include a dedication in the cover that says it has been placed in the library in honor of the student for winning NaNoWriMo.

Now, we’re talking about the possibility of starting a creative writing club at the school. We’re looking ahead to find new ways to foster creativity in the Jr. High students. It’s amazing to me, and it’s moving beyond my city.

My sister, Stephanie, is a teacher up in Jasper, Indiana. When she heard what we were doing with NaNoWriMo in Mount Vernon, she told me I needed to come to her school to help get the program going there next year.

I’m all in. Not for myself, but for others: for young writers. I didn’t start writing seriously until 2014. Oh, I tried to get something going back in 2004-2005, but my efforts faltered after a while and I quit for several years. I simply didn’t know how to write. I wish I had someone to teach me this stuff when I was younger, to encourage me and show me the way. Now, I can do that for others and it feels good.