It was a rainy afternoon in August when I received the email from the lovely staff at NaNoWriMo. The email was regarding my application to be a Municipal Liaison for my region of Niagara, an application that I sent the day after NaNoWriMo 2013. I think it was more exciting to me because it had been so long since I applied that I completely forgot about the possibilities. But now that the possibility has become the reality, there are a lot of responsibilities.
This year will be my fourth NaNoWriMo in a row, as a Municipal Liasion of the Niagara region, and many people have reached out to me to ask if I like being one, how I became one and just general ML questions, so I figured that I would round up all those questions and create a post to talk about my experiences and why I keep coming back for more.
Also, this year with all of our NaNo Swag, I also got my 3-year pin (peep that companion cube pin also! Comment if you know what that’s from!) as a gift for running events and organizing communications within the region. This is of course not a single effort though! Christine and I both received our 3-year pins this year and this is Sarah’s second year as an ML. I honestly don’t know what I would do without our team. We are super compatible when it comes to how we organize things, we’re all Bullet Journalers so we’re all super on top of the scheduling and making sure that everything is covered. I’ve even called us a dream team on occasion, and I think that’s a big contributor to why I keep coming back each year!
Another big factor that keeps me on board is our region’s participants! We have such a supportive and unique group of writers in Niagara and meeting them and spending time with them has helped me so much. I don’t know if I would have kept up with this for so long if it weren’t for our amazing members and ML Team.
Being an ML is a pretty streamline job, especially if you have done NaNoWriMo before, (which I believe is a prerequisite to being one if I’m not mistaken). It’s basically the same as being a social participant. I know our region starts planning as early as September, just to make sure that we are on top of things, but other regions might not be as excited as we are! As an ML, you need to post in the forums, check in with members of your region, and help motivate others and let them motivate you. The only different part really is scheduling events, connecting with other local write-ins, sending NaNo Mail, and making sure that everyone behaves in the forums and at events. That all being said, it can be a kind of time-consuming event, and if I didn’t work from home, I don’t think I would be able to dedicate as much time to it as I do. Creating my own schedule definitely brings the added benefit of being able to take a bit of time off to go to all the NaNo events but that’s not always a benefit that other ML’s have! I know that our other two ML’s have full-time jobs that they keep up with along with their ML duties and NaNo writing, so it definitely is doable if you’re working as well if that’s something that you are worried about.
Someone asked me why I do it if I’m already super stressed out with other things, and on top of that, not getting paid to organize the Niagara NaNo, and to that, I can only respond with the word “Love.” I truly do love the community and it has never been about money for me. I came into this position knowing that I wasn’t going to be paid, and that’s never been an issue for me. The acknowledgment and experiences alone make it sincerely worth my time and every time I go to an event and am surrounded by my writer friends I truly feel blessed.
It’s a volunteer position but at the end of the day it is a job that I hold as a high priority every year and even though it can prove to be a stressful month, I wouldn’t give it up for anything. I have on numerous accounts talked about moving out of this city and every time it boils down to the pros and cons, being a Niagara ML comes up and ultimately keeps me here. If you enjoy NaNoWriMo, and running events and making new friends you might enjoy being an ML. There are a lot of regions that are lacking liaisons or looking for second ones, depending on how big the area is, so check out your regional pages and see. I know that personally, NaNoWriMo reached out to let me know that our region didn’t have anyone at the time and that’s why I applied, and that next year Christine and I were picked to be ML’s, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!