Today we’re halfway through November, and for those participating in NaNoWriMo, that means 25,000 words (or more) need to be written by now to finish their novels on time. That’s right, by the midnight deadline on November 30th, an entire book must be completed to meet the goal.

NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month, began in 1999 with 21 writers participating, bumping up to 140 aspiring novelists in 2000. After that, the numbers leaped into the thousands and never looked back. This year, 172,000 established and wannabe writers signed up online to participate in the annual event.

A cool 172,000 people, worldwide, have committed to producing a novel of at least 50,000 words, approximately 175 pages long, in just this month. Rounding off the numbers, by writing six pages a day, or roughly 2,000 words, a full-length novel will be completed in just 30 days!

Last year, about 20,000 of the 140,000 NaNoWriMo writers who began, finished their books. I wasn’t one of them. I won’t be one of them this year, either. I’ve never been able to commit to this event, because my plate, metaphorically speaking, is already too full each November. This year, for example, I crammed in four holiday bazaars and two booksignings, so I’m not eager to add anything else to my calendar just now.

But I admire those who take on this challenge, and I support their efforts. Last week I attended a “Write In” at 3 Cups Coffee House in Astoria, and met five new writer friends. Several showed me where they stood on their online graphs tracking their production, and I witnessed one woman’s triumph as she crossed the 2,000 word-count line that day.

So congratulations to those who have finished at least 25,000 words so far! You’re over the top; you’re halfway home! And to those who are a bit behind, there’s still time! I’m pulling out the stops and getting out my pom-poms here: Atta girl! Atta boy! Atta writer! Rah, rah, rah! You can do it! Yes you can!

Nothing motivates me quite as much as the energy given off by other writers accomplishing their goals. Makes me believe my goals are achievable, too. So some time between the turkey and the pumpkin pie this month, I think I just might be able to carve out a few minutes to write a little.

Even baby steps move us toward our goals.