It’s a good thing my NaNo novel has a survival theme.  That is a bit of what the exercise feels like.  I’m not saying I am not having fun.  I am.  One thing I have learned from previous NaNos is that making the time to write each and every day is the key to success.  The reality is that being a family man means that I need to keep focused, squeeze out every opportunity, or else that time may not present itself to me.

Our clothes dryer broke as I began my first evening of writing on November 1.  Nate practically shrieked in desperation for me to help him with his homework (that he wants my help is a rarity).  Later on that evening, he and Mir announced to me that the webcam was not working on the family computer.  My expertise was required immediately in order for his project to be completed that night.  Mir also decided that she needed to have a chat with me about our finances that night.

Yet I made my word goal that day.  Woot.

I probably should include this blog in my word count.  No.  Wait.  Temptation to fudge the word count, fighting said temptation that is, is also key to survival in the whole NaNo exercise.  Yeah, there are no police who will come wailing in if one cheats, but the personal shame of cheating just isn’t worth it.  Even if a usable novel does not result from the month of word frenzy, the pride of making the 50K word goal is worth it all.

Alyssa is writing a NaNo as adult this year.  Two years ago she completed a young adult NaNo of 20K words.  She is taunting me in a very new age, teenage way — through FB, text messages, and by plain old face to face stick out your tongue taunts.  So far writing has been easy for her and she’s cranking out her novel very quickly.  She is over 11K just five days into the challenge.. and she is letting the world know that she is going to celebrate being ahead of her dad while she can still say she is ahead of me.

That’s OK.  Maybe I’ll let her stay ahead.

Having my daughter writing along me has created an acceptance, once the November 1 debacle passed, that is unprecedented in my household.  The non-writers Mir and Nate usually don’t accept the interruption of my attention.  But Alyssa loves that I am writing, so our world is suddenly in peace.  Did I say how much I love my daughter?  I do even more these past few days.

Alyssa even persuaded me to attend my first write in last night — “Dad, you will never get the peace you need to concentrate if you don’t get out of the house.”  I agreed.  I also needed to get away from the clothes dryer project that had sucked my time most of the afternoon.  I packed up my laptop to head for the write in at a Wheaton Caribou.

Yikes.  Why are NaNo people so “socially awkward” (weird, strange, howl at the moon demented)?  Mir said I must have fit in quite well when I told her about my first write in experience.  I did come home with a nifty plot bunny.  However, no one knew that a group of high schoolers had also planned a poetry slam in the same space and time as the write in.  I snap clapped through 2000 words and the plot bunny toothed NaNo woman who shared the small coffee shop table with me.  A girl who called herself Squiddich nervously twitched next to me the entire evening of writing.

I had fun.  This whole thing is fun.  Word count is 8346 and just a few words ahead of the goal.

Keep up.  Wish me luck.  And to my American friends, vote early and vote often.

NaNo NaNo.