It’s the first day of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and you know what that means — if you haven’t already written 1000+ words today, you’re already behind.

If you’re not familiar with the concept, the name pretty much says it all — all over the country, people spend the month of November trying to speed-write a 50,000 word novel. The idea is that the looming deadline forces you to get over your writer’s block, silence your inner critic, and just go for it. Which, of course, means that most of what ends up getting produced this month will probably be pretty bad. (For some reason, NaNoEdMo [National Novel Editing Month] is nowhere near as popular.) Then again, Sara Gruen’s bestselling Water for Elephants allegedly began as a NaNoWriMo project, so who knows.

From what I hear, the way to get through the month is through liberal doses of both caffeine and camaraderie. Last year, writers in Towson met for write-ins at Ukazoo Books, and it looks like those meetings are likely to resume this round as well. Check out the site’s extensive, sometimes angsty forums for details on writerly gatherings near you.