Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The work of a NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaison

This year marks the third year I've been a Municipal Liaison for NaNoWriMo.  Each year has been different but I feel like I've learned a lot from the experience.

The Denver area is a very active region, so we've always had at least two MLs -- and this year we have three!  It lightens the load for all of us, and also allows us to better cater to our very large and busy region.

We do a lot of planning for NaNoWriMo that starts long before November.  I don't think a lot of people realize how much goes into planning as an ML.  In addition to handing out stickers, managing the regional forum, and managing the local region's calendar, we organize events throughout the month:

  • A kickoff party, traditionally a potluck from 10pm Halloween night until 2am on November 1st so that we can start writing as soon as the clock strikes midnight.  This is usually our biggest event and also our biggest challenge, as it's difficult to find free space to house anywhere from 60-70 people (on a weeknight) to 100+ people (on a weekend) plus a potluck.  Our regular venues have flaked on us the last few years running, so we've had to scramble to find something at the last minute every year that I've been an ML.
  • Weekly write-ins, usually at coffee shops, restaurants, and libraries around town.  The other MLs and I try to set up write-ins of our own, which we call "official" since we have stickers to pass out.  This year I have two weekly write-ins, our Friday evening one (which actually meets year round) and a Sunday afternoon/evening one at a local gaming coffee shop, which I also have done every year.  We also have Come Write In partners, which are usually libraries and local businesses that set up write-ins at their place of business.  Since we're such a busy region, we manage a calendar with at least one (and usually more than one) write-in every single day of the month, and each one can vary in size from just a couple people to as many as 15 or 20 (like my Perkins and Enchanted Grounds write-ins).
  • A Thank God It's Over (TGIO) party, usually within the first week or so of December.  This is typically a pretty small event, maybe 15 people at most.  Usually we just meet at a restaurant, but we're trying to get more creative about it: Last year we went bowling, and this year we're going to an indie coffee shop that has offered us space.
This year we're also doing a couple of extra things: an overnight write-in at the Stanley Hotel, and data collection for NaNo HQ (just asking people to sign in to each write-in, and reporting that information to NaNo HQ).

The overnight write-in is something our region has done a few times.  Last year we did it but had a much smaller group, only 8 of us total.  This year we have a much bigger group, enough to fill three 3-bedroom condos at the hotel, so it took quite a bit more coordinating.  But I'm looking forward to it, and actually counting on the creative energy there to help carry me through some major catch-up efforts over the remaining 8 days.  My tooth extraction and other general busyness has caused me to get a little behind on my original goal!

November and the prep time leading up to it is always a whirlwind couple of months, but I love it and I'm so glad I became an ML in my region!

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