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  • Writer's pictureDenishea Young

I was an ML (and no it isn't missing an i or a f.)

Hello Ruminators,

Let's go back, back, back, in time to seven months ago. May 21,2022, I decided to apply to be a Municipal Liaison (ML) for the National Novel Writing Month organization (NaNoWriMo) for my local sector. I was thinking at the time this would be a perfect way to force me to write more and be more involved in the writing community.

Well… that didn’t exactly turn out to be the case

Granted I got significantly closer to winning NaNoWriMo 2022 than I had the previous years. (Only 7,591 words short). However it was much more work than I thought. Well okay that’s not exactly true. I made more work for myself by putting on the pressure.

The pressure of believing that everyone having a positive experience is dependent on the amount of work I put in. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. I had a partner, who was awesome by the way. She had done this for years before me and was very competent in things. However that same competency made me feel like I was lacking and slacking and my solution was to work harder. Like I needed to learn faster and do more. I often ended up frustrated with myself for not already knowing how things worked, when of course I shouldn't know how to schedule images on a group page on Facebook. I hardly use Facebook (as you all by now know well). Nor have I programmed on Discord. Yes, I have used it multiple times and as a user, I am proficient. But as a programmer or administrator, I have no skills. So of course I would need time to build them. To learn them to test and play around.

Yet try telling me this at the time. Those were not the only ways I placed pressure on myself. I added to my workload through my desire to have in-person events in addition to virtual events.



I am not mad about having in-person events. It was so much fun to plan although seriously stressful because school and work were also heating up at that time. But yeah it was still fun to plan, imagine and pull stuff off. But it was also a lot of work and pressure. A lot more than what goes with virtual programs.

What’s the difference?

Well with in-person events you have a physical space. That means finding a space, time and date as well as making sure the location is centrally located to make it easier for people to attend. Once the space has been selected then curating the space to fit one’s needs is next. That means the shifting and position of tables and chairs, in addition to decorating. As well as having activities for people to do or an agenda at the least. Themes and set learning adjectives at the most. Guess which way I went. Yep the hostess doing the mostest.

First, I wanted a kick-off party in person and what isn’t a party without party favors. So I purchased with help from my co-host candy, plastic bags, and pencils. You wouldn’t think pencils are expensive but you would think wrong. I had to get the cheapest of the cheapest pencils and that was still more expensive than I had planned for.

Next was putting it all together. Who knew that putting candy, pencils and stickers in a bag making it look nice and tying it up took more than 5 minutes?

Well now I know.

Especially if you are creating 25 of them.

For the Kick-off of course I needed a PowerPoint to wow the participants. I gotta admit. The PowerPoint did come out great. I also created and located accessories that were needed for the activities. Accessories such as fillable forms, laminated bookmarks (designed and created by me) tracking calendars, and finally the thing that took so much of my time and effort the bingo cards (to hopefully stimulate continued participation).

Yeah, getting all this together took several weeks. That wasn’t all. I also had weekly meetings with my co-host, reviewing emails and making and distributing flyers. Yeah in-person events are a lot of work.

Huh… As I am writing this all down I realize just how much work I did. No wonder I was so stressed! It was worth it though because in the end it turned out pretty cool. I had five people come. That was awesome!!! They seemed to enjoy the event and didn’t want to leave at the end of it. So Yep, a total success.

The other in-person events had someone come whether in-person or online so that’s something. Of course I created a PowerPoint, theme and activity for each event. The online events really just required me making comments and setting the pace, while giving encouragement. So a lot less work. However boy did I set myself up. I had two of the three times that I meet with others be at 5:30 in the morning. While it did prove to myself that I can indeed get up that early. It wrecked havoc on my circadian rhythm. Although good news. I am now able to wake up at 5:00 am without the pressure of others waiting on me to show up. LOL a win!

Long story short. Being a ML is a lot more work than being a Wrimo or a writer/participant. It was an eye opening experience though. One I want to keep doing. Because even though it was a lot of work it was worth it to see the enjoyment or read the enjoyment in the case of online events of others. Plus I did accomplish my overall goals which were to write more, be more involved in the writing community and to develop a writing schedule.

Well I am still working on the writing schedule thing. But having finally caught up on some rest. (Yay to finishing school and NaNoWriMo.) I can now turn my focus to building a reasonable schedule.

Because if I am honest the reason I am doing all of this is to force myself to prioritize writing and learning about the craft of writing, and being an ML makes that happen.

So that’s cool.

Well that is it for today. Write to you later.

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