NaNoWriMo started in 1999 with 21 participants and has grown into an enormoius non-profit helping people burst free of inhibitions and work with a common deadline. Your group has now produced almost a billion words, nearing the 2009 total of almost 2.5 billion.
Last year, slightly more than 19 percent of NaNoWriMo writers made it to the finish line.
As the Times piece says:
"This is the lovely thing about language. We all get to use it, and use it reasonably well, and words are so easily recycled. ... In NaNoWriMo, the talented and inexperienced, the experienced and untalented, and all of the rest, can use as many words as they want, knowing that we will never run out and not one will be wasted."