National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo) started yesterday. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30. The NaNoWriMo website stresses that "it's all about quantity, not quality" and that "you will be writing a lot of crap." The point is to write that novel you've always been wanting to. And if at the end of the month it sucks (which it probably will, with such a short deadline), at least you wrote it.
I think NaNoWriMo is a great idea for people who want to write but are normally too timid to do so. It's also great for more serious writers as a writing exercise. It's not so great for writers like me, who often focus on history-based fiction. I can spend up to several months researching a novel or story before I set pen to paper. So it's not very practical for me.
Still, if you want to participate, I say go for it. And let me know how it goes for you.