Best-Laid Plans: My Fisrst Year as A Nano ML

Our Nano group leader was moving. She would be heading to Georgia, to be closer to family and have more support. Valerie Valdes is a great leader to have, and a better friend, but we had an issue: someone needed to be a leader. They needed to be the Municipal Liaison or ML, that would connect with the official Nanowrimo database. Other Miami writers in the area could find us, read announcements, and update their progress.

I wanted to offer, but I have a habit of biting off more than I can chew. Then we realized only one other person could be liaison before she moved to Broward in a few months. It had to be me, so ensure that our group would stay together.

I spent a few months writing with the previous ML a few days a week while job hunting last year, in 2019. She offered encouragement and tips as I drove from interviews to a tea shop where we would sit and type, or vice-versa. Valerie is now a successful author, and she knows how to work within the established Nanowrimo structure.

I was taking advice about how to serve the group best, since I haven’t figured out where to find the resources. It felt like Val wore a lot of hats: she would write her own stories (and got a book deal so please read her stuff!) while rearing two kids and helping the group with their productivity. She was willing to laugh and nerd out while reminding us we couldn’t talk forever.

November 2019 wasn’t bad. I managed to schedule meetings weekly, and reach out to people as an unofficial liaison. Applications would open the following year, and I wouldn’t stress. We’d be working through this together.

Then the pandemic happened. Suddenly, we couldn’t meet in person. I applied to be ML officially, and we were strictly ordered to abide by the rules of quarantine, even if our city didn’t. Fortunately, our group had created a Discord channel where we could do virtual sprints. I created another one to accommodate the new people.  My weakness is getting out messages and scheduling events. I’m not used to entering the dates online yet.

This year, I hope to be more dedicated to the volunteer duties and to be what Val once was to us. We need more stability this year, and space for writers to work virtually. The pandemic can’t end soon enough, to give us peace of mind and headspace.


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