It may not be officially October yet, but I’ve already been in prep-mode for NaNoWriMo for over two weeks. And that doesn’t count the prep I’ve been doing on and off since December. This may have something to do with being an ML.
An ML, for those who haven’t been infected by the NaNoWriMo virus yet, is a Municipal Liaison, also known as an unpaid but very appreciated local volunteer. Basically, we’re in charge of keeping our regional forums moderated, hosting one write-in a week, and generally being available to WriMos in our region for explanations, cheerleading, and other help.
I’m throwing around a lot of NaNo specific jargon in this one, so let me take a minute to explain my terms for those outside the community. A WriMo is a participant in NaNoWriMo, which is short for National Novel Writing Month. It’s a non-profit that started in San Francisco in 1999 with a few dozen people, and now hosts the annual November challenge for hundreds of thousands of writers across the globe. The challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel from scratch in the 30 days of November. The participants self-sort themselves into regions based on geographical area, which have their own dedicated regional forum, usually have at least one ML, and form a tighter knit community within the larger international community of WriMos.
A write-in is an event where writers get together (at a coffee shop, library, restaurant, or wherever) to sit down together and write. Some are very serious with everyone face to screen and fingers to keyboard the entire time. Some are less formal and also involve a lot of chatting and helping each other out with sticky plot problems. Occasionally they include word sprints, also called word wars, which are a timed competition to see who can write the most words in the time limit. These can last five minutes, thirty minutes, and I’ve heard of people who do them for as long as an hour. The most common word sprints are fifteen or twenty minutes.
That should cover the basics. Now, back to the NaNoPrep.
I’m an ML for a super active region with two co-MLs working alongside me. We’re already plotting out the forum posts we want to do in October and November, the events we’ll be doing, and when we’ll be doing our write-ins. With the three of us doing one write-in a week, that’s twelve over the course of the month. My region’s WriMos will fill in the rest of the calendar. For the past two years we’ve had a write-in every single day of the month (including Thanksgiving and Black Friday). We have a lot of crazy and NaNo-addicted folks in our region. Even before I was an ML, I was hosting one write-in a week, sometimes more, and keeping things going in the off-season.
We also do NaNoPrep workshops in October. We’ve had them planned out since July. I’m leading the first one, tomorrow, and I’m very excited about it. We got a huge turnout for the workshops last year and I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of new and old faces again this year.
And that doesn’t even touch on my preparations for actually participating in NaNo this year. I think I’ll save that for next week.
(Look, a post not about moving! I’m still unpacking boxes…)
*Images courtesy of National Novel Writing Month