To all of you who have done NaNoWriMo in the past, or have thought about it seriously, I'm sending heartfelt pleadings for insights. I'd love to participate, have wanted to since I first heard about it, but always seem to be in the middle of a project at the beginning of November. This year I might have a shot at putting everything else aside for the month of November and getting into the game. Since there is a whole month, almost, until the opening bell rings, it seems like the perfect time to ask if all you experienced and knowledgeable folks out there would be willing to share what you've learned about what works best for you :-)
I do realize it is different for different types of writers. I've heard, for example, two starkly different approaches to previous NaNoWriMos. One, from a dedicated outliner, was that the best way by far is to do a detailed, scene-by-scene outline of the entire book you want to write before November, so that you know the story inside out. Then, you will never have writer's block in the process, and will be able to easily assess the worthiness of any unexpected ideas that might crop up along the way about character or plot development. This writer's objective is to actually write a whole, finished, quality first draft of a novel during NaNoWriMo.
The other approach came from someone who's never met an outline he likes, and is more into the fun and excitement of the writing process. His idea is to pick a subject and a protagonist that are broadly defined and free flowing, so that you can just write about the protag getting into a particular situation or situations and let the reactions and dramas and characters develop from there. His objective is also to write something that can be turned into a fine first draft, maybe just not by the end of November.
I'm in awe of both of these approaches, but my gut is telling me my style is somewhere in between. Some outlining, some free flow.
What works for you? Do you get stuck in tangents if you don't know where you're going before you begin? Do you get stuck in the doldrums if it's all laid out ahead of time? Any insights from your experiences would be most appreciated! Thanks.