Some news from Chris Baty

I just got this in my email inbox. A little sad, a little happy, the guy who played a good part in me becoming a full time writer is now moving on to become one himself. Good deal, Chris. Good deal. Go get ’em, and if anyone stands in your way, use Monkey Face Attack.

His letter:

Dear Esteemed Writer,

Since founding NaNoWriMo back in 1999, I’ve had the pleasure of sending a lot of emails to participants. I’ve written pep talks, newsletters, exhortations, thank-you notes, apologies, and donation appeals. And, occasionally, I’ve threatened you with the release of face-eating guilt monkeys should your writerly output not increase.

Today, I’m sending you an email I’ve never written to participants before. I’m writing to let you know that this January, after competing in NaNoWriMo XIII, I will be stepping down as OLL’s Executive Director. I am going to be taking a page out of one of my pep talks and heading off on the big, fun, scary adventure of being a full-time writer.

Eeeee.

Yep.

When NaNoWriMo began as a bunch of overcaffeinated yahoos, I never dreamed it would grow into a nonprofit with an office, a year-round staff of eight, Municipal Liaison-run chapters in hundreds of towns, and classroom programs taught in almost 2,000 schools.

Every day I come to work feeling lucky to be a part of it all, and so much of that has to do with you. It’s no secret that OLL has the best participants in the world—a wildly fun, brave, supportive, and hilarious group. Through NaNoWriMo, Script Frenzy, and the Young Writers Program, I’ve met so many people who have completely changed my life. We’ve laughed together. We’ve cried together. And several times a year, we’ve threatened each other with face-eating monkeys. Just to show how much we care.

I’ve loved every minute of it, and when I step down as Executive Director, I want to continue on as a participant. I’ll also be taking on the role of OLL Board Member Emeritus, which is a fancy way of saying that I get to offer input and advice without actually having to do any work.

And when I head off to write in January, I’m really hoping you’ll come with me. I’ll need you to help me maintain my sanity as I sit in front of my computer all day long, so please stay in touch.

And now? Now we have some work to do, because another autumn of creative mayhem is almost upon us. Come December, we’ll hire a new Executive Director, and the staff and I will train this person to within an inch of his or her life. There will be wind sprints. There will be broadsword instruction. There will be espresso-based endurance tests.

They will be judged worthy.

On January 20th, I will head off with you to my writing bunker, and NaNo, the Frenzy, and YWP will continue under the same Program Directors who have been running them with passion and vision for years. Our beloved Municipal Liaisons will keep organizing raucous get-togethers to boost our word counts and writerly mojo in April and November.

OLL’s mission will deepen. The programs will grow and improve. The inspiration engine we’ve all built together will help kids and adults discover their creative potential for decades to come. It’s going to be good.

Thank you for continuing to be such a central part of this organization, and for being an important part of my life these last 12 years.

With a few monkeys left in me yet,

Chris
Executive Director
The Office of Letters and Light

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