Minion Program

So you want to be a minion?  Want to stress out about NaNo from July through January?  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!  Being a minion is a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of fun, and it’s great being on the team that helps make NaNo happen for the region.  Also, we’re a pretty fun bunch and drink a LOT of coffee at meetings.  And you get a lanyard!

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 any ML and tell them you want in on this special madness.  (Erika has also been known to deputize minions in the field.  Does she have the authority to do this?  Probably not.  It has not stopped her.)  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?”

If you join the minion army mid-season, we’ll get you settled in this year and you’ll be ready to leap to work when the next round begins.  Owen sends an email every summer to all the minions to see who’s in as we start the planning.  You’re never obligated to stay on the team from one year to the next, and if you need to take a break, you’re always welcome back the following year.

Without further ado:


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.


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.


How do I become a Minion?
Talk to your MLs!  There’s always room for more!


I want to be an ML!
If there is an ML vacancy, the remaining MLs will ask for applications and choose between them.  Being a minion is the best way to develop your leadership skills and show that you’ll be a good fit for the job.  First consideration for MLs goes to people with Minion experience.


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

Running write-ins, either assisting attending MLs or 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 so that participants can find the write-in. Keep an eye out for people arriving and flag them down.  Welcome the newcomers.  Help people squeeze into the tables and find plugs.  You’re basically 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.


Helping the MLs run large events (Game Night, 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.
  • Wear your shirt 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.  Sometimes we have teens with us, whose parents would like to know who the official grownups in the room are.
  • Plan to spend some time during the event at different tables, engaging with different people.
  • Provide general assistance to the MLs.


Contributing to NaNoWriMotown’s online presence

  • Be active in Detroit regional forum. Keep an eye out for when participants have questions or concerns that you can assist with.
  • Encourage other participants, especially the newbies.
  • Consider taking part in mentoring and the regional word war.
  • Minions are in charge of running the non-forum social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, tumblr, the regional website, and the Discord server. They also run online writeins.  If internetting is your strong suit, you may be asked to take charge of one of them.


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

  • Attend leadership meetings
  • Help to create promotional materials/swag: buttons, posters, handouts, etc.
  • Assist in researching and booking venues for events.
  • Source raffle prizes
  • When the MLs are stressed, being willing to be the calm voice that says “what can I do?”


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 at all events and on the forums.  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:

  • There are typically around four leadership meetings throughout the year (January, July, August, and September). Attend at least two of them.
  • There are six major events from late October to early December (Game Night, Kickoff, Midway, Boot Camp, One Last Push, and TGIO.) Attend at least three of them.
  • Officially host (or assist in hosting) one weekly write-in.
  • Take a leadership role in managing at least one of the online resources (Facebook, Twitter, tumblr, website, Discord, and virtual write-ins).
  • Keep in contact with MLs, respond to emails promptly, and keep active on the regional forum.

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 one or more of the requirements, there are plenty of opportunities to make it up by taking a more in depth role elsewhere.

If you can’t commit to the work of being a minion, but still want to help leadership, there is plenty that you can do as a participant.  Participants can host write-ins, help out at events, or otherwise lend their skills towards making NaNo a success.