Minion Program

So you want to be a minion?  Want to stress out about NaNo TWELVE months a year?  Want to work a part time job for free instead of plotting out your own novel?  Have we got the job for you!

Okay, that makes it sound scary.  It’s not that scary.  We have a lot of fun making the region go, and we drink a LOT of coffee.  You get a lanyard! And WOW is our group chat fun.

It is also a LOT of work.  A lot of hours, a lot of meetings, a lot of emails.  And nobody gets to put the planning into their own novel that they’d really like to, so hopefully you like pantsing!

The first thing you need to do is read the job description below.  It outlines all the responsibilities of minion-hood.  Are you up to the challenge?  Yes?  Great!  Contact an ML and tell them you want in on this special madness, so we can add your information to the list.

Does it sound like a bit too much to fit into your life?  That’s okay.  There’s still lots of stuff you can do as a participant.  The four most beautiful words we can hear at an event are “How can I help?”

NaNoWriMotown Minion Program

What’s a Minion?
Minions are the junior leadership of the NaNo region.  They assist the MLs with running events, managing the online aspects of the region, welcoming participants to NaNo, and anything else needed to make November run smoothly.

 How do I Become a Minion?
E-mail us at!  The current capacity for leadership is three MLs and six minions.  That can change as circumstances change.  We confirm returning minions in early summer. If there is an opening, everyone on The List will be emailed a brief application so we can choose the best fit.  Anyone interested in being a minion can e-mail us their information so they can be added to The List.  You only have to add your information to The List once.

What if I Can’t Make the Commitment/There’s No Spot This Year? 
That’s okay.  There’s a lot of things you can do to help and support the region.

  • Run a writein.  Anyone can do it!  See the FAQ for how to do this.
  • Volunteer to be a Greeter for a writein.  Keep an eye out for new arrivals, especially noobs.   Say hi, welcome, help them find a seat, all that good friendly stuff.  Leadership already does this stuff, but sometimes we miss people!  A Greeter could be a big help.
  • At the end of events, stick around for a minute and help clean up.
  • Just be a generally awesome, supportive person to other participants throughout the month!

Why do I Want to be a Minion?
Being a Minion is fun!  You get to help put on a great NaNo experience for the region.  Being a Minion helps stretch your creative muscles in different ways than your novel, as well as develop organizational, communication, and teamwork skills.

NaNo may be 99% fun and games, but don’t forget that you are working as a volunteer for the local arm of a nonprofit organization.  The skills that you develop may be helpful to you in your workplace, and in job seeking.  You can use this job description when writing your resume.  The MLs are your supervisors.  If you choose to use one as a reference, be sure to contact them for permission and to confirm their contact information.

I want to be an ML!
If there is an ML vacancy, the remaining MLs will ask first look to promote a current minion. Being a minion is the best way to develop your leadership skills and show that you’ll be a good fit for the job.

What would I be expected to do?
All kinds of stuff!  Including but not limited to…

Running write-ins, both assisting attending MLs and hosting an event of their own.

  • Contact the venue to make/confirm reservations, as necessary.
  • Plan to get to the location a few minutes early and scope out table space.
  • Wear your shirt/lanyard so that participants can find the write-in. Keep an eye out for people arriving and flag them down.  Welcome newcomers.  Help people find tables and plugs.  You’re the host of the event.
  • Moderate the word wars throughout the event.
  • Pass out the swag! You’ll have a minion kit with buttons, stickers and participant badges.  You can also collect any donations that participants give and pass them on to the MLs.
  • Plan to stay until the end and make sure the space is tidied up. We want the businesses where we gather to be pleased to see us.
  • Running a virtual writein is the same as an in person, for the most part. You use Sprinto to run word wars on our discord server, moderate the chat, and direct participants to where they can find virtual swag.

Helping the MLs run large events (Night Owl, Kickoff, Midway, Boot Camp, One Last Push, TGIO, etc)

  • Plan to arrive a few minutes early, and/or stay late to help with setup/cleanup.
  • Help monitor the space. Trash, organizing power cords, wrangling the potluck, etc.
  • Wear your shirt/lanyard so that if participants need help, they can find someone “in charge.”
  • Be the welcome wagon! Greet the participants, help them get settled, and if you see someone hiding nervously in the corner, make them welcome.
  • Provide general assistance. Leadership gets to have fun at events, too, but  our primary concern is to work.
  • Virtual big events are typically run on Zoom. We trade off running word wars, making announcements, or having activities. We also keep an eye on the chat box to welcome new people, drop links to resources, etc.

Contributing to NaNoWriMotown’s online presence

  • Be active in Detroit regional forum. Keep an eye out for when participants have questions or concerns.
  • Encourage other participants, especially the newbies.
  • Motown has a discord server, which is our primary online community. Everyone is involved with moderating the discord and upholding the community standards.
  • Minions have also run our other social media platforms, such as facebook, twitter, and instagram.

Upholding the Values of NaNoWriMo

We have a responsibility to uphold the values and policies set down by HQ. We communicate regularly on the best way to accomplish these goals and create an inclusive, supportive community.

  • Community spaces must be all ages appropriate.
  • Uphold Nano’s commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
  • Promotion of conspiracy theories is not permitted. (Conspiracy theories being defined as theories that are harmful and not factual.)
  • HQ occasionally provides DEI trainings to MLs. Minions are encouraged to join in,  but it is not required.

General Helpfulness: Minions can be delegated a variety of organizational tasks, including but not limited to:

  • Attend leadership meetings and keep up with the group chat. We do a lot of informal planning in the off season.
  • Help to create promotional materials/swag: buttons, handouts, web materials, etc.
  • Assist in researching and booking venues for events.
  • Sourcing materials like raffle prizes or event supplies. You will be reimbursed for any expenses.
  • Overall, minions have the same voice and responsibilities as MLs. We all have ideas and we all share all the work. There are very few tasks that specifically require the “authority” of an ML.

Representing NaNoWriMotown in a positive way
As part of the leadership team, participants look to you as the face of NaNo.  Strive always to keep an upbeat, positive attitude.  Be kind, be encouraging, and when you are despairing of your own word count, keep your bemoaning good-natured.  Remember that above all, NaNo is a place of inclusion and encouragement.

Minimum Participation Requirements
Nobody can do everything all of the time, and there is a LOT of potential work to be done.  In order to be a minion, you need to be able to commit to the following:

  • We have Leadership meetings throughout the year, starting in January with our season wrap up. During the spring we work on off-season tasks, and summer and fall are for November planning. We expect you to attend as many meetings as possible and arrange the schedule as best we can. Attend at least three.
  • There are six major events from late October to early December (Kickoff, Night Owl, Midway, Boot Camp, One Last Push, and TGIO.) There is also usually some sort of social event in October. Attend at least three.
  • Officially host one weekly write-in.
  • Actively participate in the discord server, and moderate the discussion there.
  • Keep in contact with the rest of the team for planning, problem solving, and general awesomeness.

Everyone has work, school, family, and other obligations that place demands on their time.  It is not required that you make NaNo your number one priority, but it is expected that you take your role seriously.  If life prevents you from fulfilling some requirements, there are plenty of opportunities to make it up by taking a more in depth role elsewhere.