I've decided to do NaNoWriMo again this year. I last participated in 2004, and I actually wrote a little over 50,000 words on a women's fiction type novel. I haven't really gone back and read what I wrote, so I don't know if it's any good or total crap.
Nano is good for just forcing you to write and get words on paper, without editing or worrying about whether it's really any good. My biggest problem in writing creatively is turning off my internal editor. I tend to try to edit as I write. This is probably due to the writing I do at work, which is often under a deadline, so editing as I go is necessary in many cases. But with creative writing, it's usually better for me to just get the ideas out and then go back and weed through and refine.
I'm going to try a mystery this year, so I've been doing some brainstorming and trying to come up with the basic plot, characters, etc. I thought I had come up with a good basic premise, but I was really struggling with making the story go past a certain point and beginning to worry that I would get 20,000 or so words in and it would hit a dead end. In trying to rethink some things and come up with new ideas yesterday, I started switching some characters around within the basic plot and hit on something I think will work better.
My previous killer is now the one that gets killed. Amazingly, this is making things mesh in my mind much better. Most of the motives and general storyline I had already come up with will still work, just with a different killer, and a lot more suspects. In my previous version there was too much of a disconnect between the person who got killed and the rest of the story. In fact, that person is no longer really even in the story.
The hardest part in planning for Nano right now, is that I want to start writing some of the scenes I've imagined in my head. To stay "true" to Nano, I'm not supposed to start writing until November 1. Some of the fun and probably a good bit of the momentum is in doing this with all the other people participating, so I'm being good for now and just making notes. I'm trying to really think through my characters and come up with a good basic outline for the plot, in hopes that once I start writing I won't hit a point where I don't know what to say next. And I'm entertaining myself by coming up with character names that I would never hang on any child of mine. How would you like to have been named Andromeda?