Can you write a novel by Nov. 30?

More than 100,000 people are expected to try this month. November is National Novel Writing Month (also known as NaNoWriMo.) The idea is to write a 175-page novel by midnight on November 30.

NaNoWriMo is now nine years old. It began in 1999 with 21 participants, all 20-somethings who "wanted to make noise."

Last year, 101,51o writers participated worldwide, with 15,333 reaching the goal.

The ideal participant, according to NaNoWriMo organizers, is anyone "who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved."

The hope is that "the kamikaze approach" will force participants to "lower ... expectations, take risks, and write on the fly."

To officially participate, you need to register with NaNoWriMo. Their robotic word counters will track your progress. No need to write a good book – just reach 50,000 words by Nov. 30.

Sound scary – if not insane? According to NaNoWriMo, "you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows." (Instructions on the NaNoWriMo website are available in French, Dutch, German, and Spanish, as well as English.)

There are meetings throughout the month – intended to offer encouragement – and at the end, "the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children."

It may not be the most elegant way to produce a novel, but for many, it could be the only way.

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