I once participated in NaNoWriMo. In fact, it was got me started blogging. I actually did it in September since November is a crazy month for me with the holidays and my daughter’s birthday and visitors staying with us. So I took it upon myself to write 50,00 words in one month and set up a blog to keep me accountable. I did it. I finished a first draft. Actually I consider it more of a down draft. I got 50,000 words down but there are POV shifts, tense changes, no real structure or plot yet. But what a rush to have accomplished that much writing in one month. I see the appeal. Especially when you know that thousands of other writers are pounding at the keyboard across the world at the same time. For the isolated writer, that’s no small comfort.
I haven’t participated since then. I still have the down draft of that novel that I return to again and again, still intrigued by the characters and story not to mention a novel-in-stories I need to revise, not to mention a collection of stories I am polishing one by one and sending out into the world not to mention several new ideas tapping at my subconscious waiting for their opportunity. The last thing I need is another messy draft to revise. The pace of NaNoWriMo is thrilling, invigorating even But the pace also leaves you with a huge mess to then cope with. I think if you write slower and more thoughtfully, you’re better off. It will not be a polished version by any means but it probably won’t be a barely coherent mish-mash of a skeleton of a story.
I like what Tayari Jones has to say about it here. I have a couple of friends who are participating this month and they have shaped it to fit what they need to accomplish on their individual writing projects. That’s the best way to approach it. Figure out what you need to and can accomplish in one month and ride that creative energy generated around the world with all of those writers huddled over their keyboards doing the same thing. Good luck!