This is my fourth year participating in NaNoWriMo (National November Writing Month). For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is an annual event organized online, where a bunch of people from around the world try to write a novel in 30 days. It’s sort of a competition against yourself, and to officially win, you need to write at least 50,000 words. That’s about 1,667 words a day. If you want to know more, visit their website here
This also happens to be my first year as an official ML. ML’s help organize local get together, whether that’s write-ins (writing in a group, usually in a public place), kickoff parties and of course the TGIO party (thank goodness it’s over, or whatever variation you prefer).
Being an ML is a bit of a different experience than just writing. For one, you really do need to show up to as many write-ins as you can. You run word wars (everyone present competes to write the most within a time limit). You reserve tables for special events. You carry information cards, some way for everyone to donate money to NaNoWriMo’s charity and whatever types of prizes your local area has. You’re basically a volunteer event planner.
Thankfully our local group’s veteran ML is very experienced, because I’d be kind of lost on my own. Still, helping plan and run an event is probably good for me. Considering I still can’t find a job in Journalism, and PR could be a great alternative, I should try to get more experience in event planning.
As for my word count, I promised that I wouldn’t talk about my progress at least until the month is over. That said, I was worried that being an ML would cut into my progress. It is a bit, but not as much as I expected.
So would I recommend applying to be an ML? That depends. If you’re barely winning NaNoWriMo each year as it is, then I wouldn’t recommend it. If you haven’t won yet period, then you don’t meet the requirements to be an ML. As an ML you are contractually obligated to officially win Nanowrimo. You are contractually obligated to encourage the other local participants to win. Would I recommend it to someone with a full-time job? Probably not, because in the weeks before the month of writing madness begins. At least in the first week of Nanowrimo, you’ll need time to reserve tables at cafes, write motivational messages for your regional group and help moderate your regional forum. It’s not quite as much work as I expected, but it’s still work.
That said, I’m enjoying my time as an ML so far. I like the responsibility of trying to make sure our local events are enjoyable, spread throughout the city and times of day for those who have trouble getting around and productive for those who find it easier to write productively in a group. To be honest the local libraries basically handed us a bunch of events on a silver platter, but that’s beside the point. As of right now, I would apply to be an ML again next year.
I’m not sure when I’ll get around to writing my next Nanowrimo journal of the year, but it’ll most likely be filled with tips for people who want to try their hands at being an overachiever.