It is the first full month of autumn, and that can only mean one thing. Next month is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). A month when a bunch of losers all over the world support each other as they each write their very own crappy 50,000 words of semi-coherence. And I’m doing it too.

The whole thing is based on a rather ingenious principle—one I’ve known about for a while. Lots of people have a novel in them; it’s a cliche that when you retire you’ll finally write that novel you’ve been bandying about in your head for the last 40 years. Of course, few of these novels are ever written. (How many people do you know that have written a novel?) So what’s the problem? What’s keeping you from hunkering down and getting to it? Simple: no deadline.

I don’t know about you, but the only reason I ever did school work was because I had to turn it in, at a certain time. The only real story I’ve ever completed was for a writing class in college. A writing class with due dates. The rest of my writing life has been a series of half-assed starts and whole-hearted stops. It’s hard to complete something that no one expects you to do (least of all, yourself). That’s the point of NaNoWriMo.

It won’t be great. It won’t be good. It may barely make sense. But, at the end of 30 days of frantic typing, it’ll be something resembling a novel. And that’s pretty damn cool, right?

So. Who’s coming with me?