This past week, I mentioned to a few friends and colleagues that I planned to write a novel — soup to (very) nuts — in November. I’m not sure what I expected, but I got (1) advance sympathy, and (2) unsolicited story ideas.

I’ve filed most of the story ideas, perhaps for future use. The most common one, among lawyers and nonlawyers alike: Make it a bodice-ripper. Hmmm, I suppose some ideas range across myriad professions.

Bodices may or may not be ripped (don’t hold your breath), but I got my first inkling of novelist terror when friends, in their own helpful way, started calculating how many words I had to write per day.  Gulp. It may be my saving grace that I was never good at math. Their multiplication with wide eyes was enough to get me thinking too much about the project ahead.

And for those who don’t know, charges participants with writing a 50,000-word novel, all in November. Planning and thinking before November is OK, but no writing starts until the 11th month. The fact that 50K is more of a novella than a novel is some small consolation. Nonetheless, for the next 30 days, I’m avoiding people who are good at math.