Saturday, November 10, 2012

Tea and typing

Younger Daughter and I are still diligently working on our Great American Novels through NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

In fact, Younger Daughter has been whompin' my fanny when it comes to word count. She's putting in hours every day, balancing my old laptop on her lap and pounding the keyboard. I long ago gave her the gift of privacy when it comes to her writing, so I don't know how her book is developing; but I do know that the only way she (or anyone else) can improve their writing is to write. Copiously. So more power to her.

Unlike me, Younger Daughter has been following the regional NaNoWriMo forums for our area, and she learned they were hosting "write-ins" twice a week, either in the Coeur d'Alene library or in a place called Calypso's Coffee Company. Despite the distance, she had her heart set on attending one of the write-ins.

So on Thursday, with the excuse of having the girls stay with their grandparents one last time (before my folks return to California for the winter), we drove into Cd'A. I dropped Older Daughter off with my folks, and then Younger Daughter and I went the short distance to Calypso's, a place I'd never been before.

Beyond the pretty sign, it sure doesn't look like much on the outside -- just a plain cinderblock building.

But on the inside -- oh my! The place is huge, casual, comfortable, and delightful. (Sorry for the blurry photo, I didn't want to be too obvious as I snapped this shot.)

I was amused by this sign on the wall.

The coffee house had a glassed-off conference room in which the NaNoWriMo writers gathered. It also had a few individual corrals with electrical outlets, so Younger Daughter set herself up in one of those.

I parked myself at the conference table since I had my AlphaSmart, which is battery-powered.

I treated Younger Daughter (and myself) to a chai tea latte (an enormous treat -- on our budget, purchasing hot drinks is nearly unheard-of) and we joined the other writers.

Well, we had a fine time. A wonderful time. There is something truly invigorating about being in the presence of other writers. We laughed and typed and asked each other questions ("I need a name for a doctor! Any ideas?") and got a tremendous amount of work done.

I asked permission to photograph the group. Twelve people eventually showed up. (My chair is the empty one in the front-right.)

Younger Daughter hit a milestone while we were there -- 25,000 words, the halfway mark! She got a warm round of applause from the group, and an invitation to take a prize from a grab-bag (she chose some fuzzy gloves in shocking pink -- I'll post a photo later).

Someone took the trouble of typing up a bunch of "words of the day" from and putting them in a paper bag. The idea is that if we got stuck in our writing, we could reach in and randomly draw a word, which we could then incorporate into our manuscripts. (Harder than it sounds -- not too many opportunities arise in a manuscript to use words like "abderian" or "exuviate" or "cantrip" -- but a fun idea.)

I wish we were closer to these write-ins, but alas we're not. My folks are returning to California next week, and with them goes the frequency of our trips to Coeur d'Alene. That's why I'm so glad Younger Daughter and I had the opportunity to attend at least one.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to catch up on my word count for the day.


  1. I love that you're doing this together. I'm calendaring NaNoWriMo for next year, hoping my husband will join me, with a couple of shorter self-imposed writing tasks to build up to it. Congratulations to your daughter on hitting the half-way mark!

  2. I applaud you and daughter for doing so well, and enjoying the time together. I never liked to write and
    it was always something I had/have to force myself to do.
    Amazingly, the last English class I took
    was a writing class and the prof. gave me a shocking A.
    I am more a fan of Haiku. : ) Congratulations.

    1. I love Haiku, also. The perfect word choice is crucial for the verbal image to be complete.

      Just Me

  3. I've been a member of writing groups and have attended writing courses, etc., but nothing ever looked like as much fun as this write-in group!

    Thank you for sharing. Your daughter is going to be developing a skill to enjoy for life.


  4. Wowwie! Half way already!? Fantastic.

    I'll have to log this into my calendar for next year --- got side tracked this year. Maybe it's not too late to start on my own. I do know that keeping the pace requires a real time committement. One thousand seven hundred words a day don't just happen in a few minutes.

    And not only time - but a brain committement, too. You have to be in the place you're writing from -- sort of an immersion thing. Gotta transplant yourself from reality. At least that's how it was for me.

    The one time I did it, I got a little better than one third the way...then life interferred. But, oh what FUN I had! The story just poured out - I couldn't write fast enough.

    Good Luck!

    Just Me

  5. Calypso's is a great coffee shop. Try the Mexican Coffee sometime, it is a tasty treat.

    1. Nope, I'd rather not. I'm one of those people who HATES coffee in any size, shape, or form -- including coffee ice cream or coffee candies. I'm afraid I'll have to stick with tea. (smile)

      - Patrice