The Children's Society, Camp Nanowrimo, and an ode to tacky kids' magazines

Monday, 6 July 2015

Hello there! Thought I'd waffle a bit today.

I'm participating in Camp Nanowrimo this month (quick explanation: Nanowrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it is an organization that encourages people to write a first draft of a novel in November. Camp Nanowrimo happens in the summer, and you have 30 days to reach your word count goal. You get put into camps and joined up with other people to discuss your progress, too. It is geekily awesome). My word count is 30,000, which means I need to be averaging 1,000 words a day.

1,000 words a day is not too bad. Some days I only write a few hundred, other days I can fit in 2,000. So far, I am at 8,000-and-something, so I have a bit of wriggle room for a non-writing day here and there.

It is weird.

Because the idea of a first draft is not to have a complete bit of work: it is literally about getting words to paper (or screen, rather). Later on, you can go through and be vicious, hacking away at your awful sentences and terrible ideas, until you are just left with the good stuff, the little nuggets of good writing amongst the rubbish.

I look forward to that bit. As it turns out, writing is really hard. Like, writing lots of words. On the same subject. Especially when its a subject you have chosen. It feels daunting when you sit down to an empty screen and the cursor just blinks patiently at you. I think, I'm supposed to fill this space with words? That I pluck out of my brain? 

It turns out writing little and often is good, because it makes quite a big goal for me a bit more achievable. I feel quite excited to update my word count every day.

I find it hard turning off my inner editor though. I allow her to have a quick look over it for spelling mistakes, but that's about it. Sometimes, I write a sentence and think 'I know I'm going to delete that later, but there's an idea in there that might work if I can phrase it a bit differently.' But to just close down the document afterwards and not indulge the urge to mess around with it is kind of hard.

So there we go! I have a few blog posts pre-written so hopefully I won't leave too huge a gap between posts for the rest of the month, but a lot of my mental energy is going to Camp. I'll let you know how it goes!


So, I'm going to be doing a bit of blogging about The Children's Society's Seriously Awkward campaign. I'm excited to be a part of this. The campaign is all about vulnerable 16 and 17 year olds in the UK - they do not have the same protection by law as younger people, and are at high risk of sexual exploitation and domestic violence.

If you know me well IRL, you'll know that this is a subject pretty close to my heart. I am hoping to take part in some events and to blog a lot more about their work - and perhaps be brave enough to blog about subjects that I haven't properly written about before.

In the meantime, if you like, you can sign their petition to change the law, so that 16 and 17 year olds are protected from neglect and abuse - click here to do so!


I'd like to take a moment, too, to praise rubbishy childrens' magazines with the little plastic toys stuck on the front. Like Peppa Pig magazine. So here it is: I LOVE YOU PEPPA PIG MAGAZINE. Also CBeebies magazine and the vaguely titled Friends magazine (not to do with the sitcom).

They are overpriced and their toys are naff but oh boy, what a delight they are to my toddler. I don't tend to buy her toys or books in between special occasions because she gets enough from her grandparents but occasionally I will buy her one of these and we get so much use out of them.

Need to unpack the shopping? Give her the little toys attached to the front.

Need to read your emails? Give her some crayons and the colouring pages.

Wanting a quiet moment where your child isn't running around? Read her the stories inside.

We don't throw them away when we're done, either, because sometimes Jellybean likes to take them to bed to read the stories (by that I mean we read them to her, not that she is a child genius). Also I plan to cut out all the pictures when we're finished so she can have another quiet ten minutes gluing them on a bit of paper (and onto the table).

Those little toys, though. They are great! Yes they look like they might snap if you even look at them for a bit too long and they are usually a bit wonky and odd, but still! They are small enough to take out and about, but not so precious that anyone would be devastated if they got lost. They can withstand being taken in the bath with her. And she loves them, sadly even more than the beautiful wooden toys that she already has. Today she spent ten minutes (that is an AGE in nearly-two-year-old time) pushing around little rubbish plastic cars and saying 'vroooom, vroooooom.'

So. Want a happy child? Buy them one of these overpriced magazines. Maybe not every month, but still. They are an invaluable tool for a parent who wants five minutes to themselves without plonking them in front of the television.

Check that out: a pile of beautiful, crappy plastic.

Just be prepared to find little stickers on the bottom of your socks (and sometimes on the walls).

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