Mrs. Loughman and her English honors students participate in National Book Writing Month

Loughman+and+Levin+providing+lessons+on+story+writing.+

Submitted by Katherine Loughman

Loughman and Levin providing lessons on story writing.

Colette Packard, Staff Writer

English teacher Katherine Loughman is ecstatic as her honors students write their own novels for National Book Writing Month. During the month of November, using the website NaNoWriMo, Loughman and her sophomore honors English students worked to craft their own novels. 

NaNoWriMo is a worldwide organization that provides a website to help students and adults around the country draft novels. NaNoWriMo has a ‘Young Writers Program’ where students can set their own goals and write at their pace. The students began writing their novels on Nov. 2 and finished writing on Dec. 1. 

“It’s been a unique year and I thought having my students write novels would help build a community and get students to participate with a worldly community as well,” Loughman said. 

Her class has been writing novels across a variety of genres  from romance, crime, autobiography, apocalyptic, and LGBTQ novels.

 “I was really excited to write a novel. Once she told us what we were going to do, I was eager to start with my writing. I love to write, and I really wanted to get better at creative writing,” Madeline Marshall said. 

Finding motivation to write a novel during the pandemic can be very difficult, but with the right guidance it’s not impossible.  

It’s been a unique year and I thought having my students write novels would help build a community and get students to participate with a worldly community as well,”

— Katherine Loughman

“The writers were very motivated because they got to pick what they wanted to write about…Most of my students met their word count… out of my two classes, we wrote 500,000 words altogether,” Loughman said that the class was very excited to write their novels and anticipated how they would turn out, herself included. 

Loughman is proud of the effort and participation her students put forth. All the hard work they put into their writing has given them a broader mindset when it comes to achieving new things. 

“I had a student say that the most she’d ever written was a tenth of what she’s ever wrote and had another student tell me that whenever her parents say ‘you can’t do this’ or ‘you can’t do that’ she says, ‘I’m writing a novel, I can do anything’ which I thought was really cute,” Loughman said. 

Writing a novel through online school may seem difficult, but Loughman has seen the positive side of things. 

“Many have written more than when I have done this in the past, it can honestly be hard in a classroom where you can be so easily distracted where as being stuck at home requires you to be in your own space,” Loughman said. 

One thing that’s important to remember as a writer is that you have to write a lot to establish the habit of writing, you have to write everyday,” Loughman said. “That goes for anything, you have to do it everyday and practice at it.”

To provide extra help during this time, Loughman gave mini lessons via Zoom to help guide the students. Although these novels are just their first drafts, they will spend this next month editing their writing and publishing a ‘class anthology’ of their excerpts. The students have an option to post their novels for everyone to see, but just for now, it’s a class shared submission.

Loughman wanted her students to trust themselves, she wanted them to believe that they were good writers. She wanted them to not worry about what it looked like, instead she wanted them to focus on getting it done. 

Mrs. Loughman told us to turn off our inner editor, so it was really hard to not edit and try to figure out good wording, so I just had to keep moving along to reach my word count,” Marshall said. 

An important lesson to learn from Loughmans advice is that hard work and dedication results in positive outcomes. She taught her students how to write novels and to trust themselves. She inspires everyone with her motives and encourages others to write novels as well. 

“One thing that’s important to remember as a writer is that you have to write a lot to establish the habit of writing, you have to write everyday,” Loughman said. “That goes for anything, you have to do it everyday and practice at it.”