NaNoWriMo may not be for everyone, but personally, I love it. All my published novels are the result of NaNoWriMo disasters.
It's one long month of painful, obsessive, and horrific writing. But in the end, I've got more than just the backbone of a story, I've got a whole manuscript. Then I spend the next year revising and sending it through my crit croup.
Writing a manuscript so quickly allows me to keep the characters consistent and the story more cohesive. It's like total story immersion.
It's an exercise in creativity. You sit. You write. You don't go back and delete. You wear a silver cross and garlic strands to keep that editing demon at bay. Revision comes later--after you've vomited your story onto the page in such a jumbled mess that it looks like this:
or even this:
Just keep that pinky off the delete key. If you write something you KNOW you won't keep, use strikethrough. You never know. I've changed my mind later, in January or even June, and kept whole paragraphs that I'd blocked out with strikethrough.
NaNo is about word count. So keep all the words because they count. No one else will see the disaster that is unfolding on your computer screen, so don't worry about perfection. Just get the words out however you can.
If you don't know what to write next, keep extending the scene you're in. Eventually your mind will catch up with your fingers and transition to the next scene. Sure you've got a page of extremely boring conversation at a restaurant where they debate the merits of Mary Ann versus Ginger. That's what the delete key is for, AFTER you finish NaNo.
Then, after lots of tender loving care and nursing your story back to health, you get something that looks like this:
or best of all, this!:
If you haven't tried it--or if you tried but failed for whatever reason--try again. It's oh so hard, but in the end worth it.
If you do NaNo this year, find me there and we can be buddys!