Simple curiosity, who here is going to participate to NaNoWriMo next month?
Did you do any planning in advance? Did you participate before? What did you think of it?
I participated in November 2013. I wrote a first rough draft of a novel, counting a bit over fifty thousand words, in ten days. It was what got me back to writing after a long hiatus of having to focus on job and family. After that push, and because I'm now moving, I would not participate again. On the one hand, in November I will be in the middle of rewriting my current book. That is a process that needs the time it takes and cannot be rushed and done in 30 days. On the other hand, my process is usually different, and what I wrote during NaNoWriMo was basically just a lengthy outline and that it was bloated to novel length long hindered me in finishing it. Only when I found the courage to simply throw it all away and write it anew, taking only the plot and some few passages from that rough, could I finally finish that book. So if I ever happen to be in the outline process in some future November, I might in fact use NaNoWriMo to brainflush that outline onto paper. But I will never consider it "writing a novel" again, and very likely I will rather do my outline the traditional way – that is, as a list or table –, and not waste the experience of discovery writing on the outlining but save it for when I actually follow the landmarks set out by the outline to write the first draft.
It was a great, valuable, and inspiring experience, and you might benefit from it, but for me it is something that I no longer feel I need.