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 that scary.  We have a lot of fun making the region go, and we drink a LOT of coffee.  And you get a lanyard!

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 Owen and tell him you want in on this special madness, so he 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 Owen!  The current capacity for leadership is three MLs and six minions.  That can change as circumstances change.  Owen sends the “Who’s still in?” email every summer to prepare for the coming season.   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 Owen their information so they can be added to The List.  You only have to add your information to The List once.

The e-mail address is NaNoWriMo.Detroit@gmail.  Include your Actual Name, Nano Name, e-mail address and cell phone number.

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 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, 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 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 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.  Leadership gets to have fun at events, too, but remember, our primary concern is to work.

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 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.