There was, as you can guess, no NaNoWriMo challenge for me this year. I haven't done the challenge in quite some time, but not out of contempt for the process. If anything, NNWM is what got me to where I am now; I owe it props.
My first NNWM was in 2006. I'd been writing fiction on and off for years, but the last full-length works I wrote and completed had been before the turn of the millennium, and I'd been bopping between various other creative endeavors without feeling like I had done anything more than repeat the same bit of inspired amateurism over and over. At the end of the day, at the end of each day, at the end of every single time I sat down and asked myself what I really wanted to be doing with my time, I came up with the same answer: I wanted to be writing again. NNWM gave me the public excuse I needed to do that.
The book that resulted from that initial bit of touching fire to tinder was Summerworld. For the first time in I don't know how long, I had not only written and completed something, but written and completed something I wasn't utterly ashamed of putting my name to! Clearly there was some merit in using NNWM for getting mud-rutted wheels unstuck.
I used NNWM once again as a creative spur for Tokyo Infernoin 2008, and it helped then as well. But after that, I stared to feel like the lessons of discipline provided by NNWM had been internalized, and I didn't really need the social pressure of the contest to make myself buckle down and produce something. And so everything else since then has been written entirely on my own time and schedule.
None of this rules out me taking another swing at NNWM. Although, November is a logistically thorny time for me to commit to any big project. I typically have a lot of family stuff going on during that month, so I might choose to go "out of competition" in, say, June or something. But for now, I have my hands delightfully full.