This year I came in to NaNo feeling unprepared and not quite as excited as I had been in previous years. Evidently that was a good way for me to approach the event. I had my guard down, which left me open to whatever might happen. Every year I've learned something valuable. This year I learned a lot about procrastination (which is not a malady to which I'm ordinarily prone) and about drafting without editing.
Early in the month, I encountered Kristen Lamb's post on the importance of not editing during the first draft . That technique also seemed to be a theme running through a lot of the NaNo Pep Talks. When my story took off on its own during the second week, I ordinarily would have started over, editing from the beginning to get it back on track. I'd have tried to steer it into the direction I had originally planned. Instead, I chose to hang on and let the story take me where it wanted to go. The story that I ended up with bears no resemblance to what I intended when I started out.
I'm almost 100% sure that, after extensive rewriting and editing, the story that I ultimately publish will bear little resemblance to the one I have now. That is good, because the story I have now has infinitely more potential than the one I originally envisioned.
In other words: another successful and educational November, which sets me up for the long, dark and creative weeks of winter.