Sunday, November 4, 2007

Writers in Herds

I had the funnest of times the other night hosting the Calgary NaNoWriMo Kick-Off. Funner than fun.

This is my fourth or fifth year being the Municipal Liaison for the city, for the last couple of years I've had a co-ML who runs the online world while I run the real-life world of get togethers and write-ins.

It works well. I'm definitely an introvert who likes to talk to other writers. See them. Look them in the eyeballs. She prefers the online duties.

So a week before the kick-off I grabbed a press release from NaNo's site and customized it with my information. Then I sent it out to all the major papers and radio stations. I got a few bites. The Calgary Herald Neighbours edition called and interviewed me and also said they'd send a photographer.

Then CBC Radio One called and The Eyeopener wanted to interview me on the radio at 6:15 am (aka The Unholy Hour).

(And, on the same day as all this happened, another writer from the Calgary Herald called to interview me about my essay in Chicken Soup for the Working Mom's Soul... and they sent a photographer to my house!)

Some of the writers in our NaNo group were a little confused as to why I'd invite the media to a writing event. I explained that it was good to get publicity for NaNo for many reasons: to support their young writer programs, to promote writers in our city, to promote literacy, to show that we have a vibrant writing community... and that maybe next year we could get some corporate sponsorship so I wouldn't have to pay for all the darn prizes and giveaways out of my own pocket!

I don't mind, actually, but don't tell my husband!

I got a few items donated, a gift card for a bookstore, a session with a creativity coach, a couple of books.

At the event we had a write-off, to see how many words we could write in 10 minutes. Then we gave out prizes to writers in two categories (newbies and repeating writers) based on content (who has a character who is hearing a voice in his head?) and word count.

Other prizes included 'writer' videos like Stranger Than Fiction, Capote, and The Hours. Books like Writer's Block, No Plot No Problem as well as an official NaNo Novel Writing Kit.

Of course we had the official NaNo stickers too.

I had a lot of fun talking to the group, mostly because they laughed in all the right places. It wasn't intimidating at all, I realized just before we started that most of these people were just like me! Writers here to meet other writers. Some were shy, some weren't (like my buddies, the hecklers!). They did a great job, gave great feedback and contributed to the discussion.

I look forward to the rest of the meetings this month for NaNoWriMo.

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