NaNoWriMo 2016: Reflections of a Municipal Liaison

NaNoWriMo 2016

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_municipalliaisonFor the past 13 years of writing during National Novel Writing Month, I have spent 12 of those years as a Municipal Liaison.  What is an ML?  We are community organizers, volunteers, and cheerleaders.  It is our job to make sure local writers have the support they need and want to get through the month.

Each year I step up to help out my region.  Each year is different from the last.  For example, usually the writers from Chelmsford are far more active than anyone else.  This year it was those in Lowell.

Here are the things I have learned from years of organizing NaNoWriMo locally

  1. For us, a Facebook group made a whole lot of sense.  We did a lot more communication here than on the official NaNoWriMo forum.  We did still use the official NaNoWriMo forum for official announcements, we didn’t see a lot of conversation there.  This is not new and I wonder if other NaNoWriMo regions are seeing this happen.
  2. Cultivating a community is difficult and I am not always sure if it is something I have done or something I have just been lucky to watch happen.  We are working to keep the momentum going this year.  Instead of letting everyone fall away at the start of December, we increase post-November participation every year.  This is done through Mill Pages, our writing group.
  3. I have come to see Mill Pages as part writing group and part planning committee.  Since so many of them came to us from NaNoWriMo, it is easy to let them help us plan and run the months.  Having this has allowed me to get feedback on ideas as well.
  4. My Co-ML and I decided we want to do more on-line writing events.  We think there are far more people who can’t get to writing events, but want the push to keep going.  We are going to add a third ML next year just to have someone to focus on virtual events.
  5. We tried something new this year, a Coffee Crawl.  It was borrowed from another region, but they focused on libraries.  We just did our typical locations.  We will do more next year.  As much as one day devoted to writing seemed like a good idea, it was exhausting and the morning was not well attended.
  6. I discovered a lot of cool games at the end of the month and I think we will try them in April and July as tests for next year.  My goal for the next year is to not make NaNoWriMo an one month event, but to get people from writing to publishing.

Will I be back for this again next year?  Yep and I am looking forward to it.

Did you do NaNoWriMo this year?  What did your region do that was fun?

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