As I reported last, I "Won" this year's NaNoWriMo.
It was a wonderful experience. It was the first fiction I ever wrote and it certainly showed. I like the ideas behind the story I wrote and I may rewrite it someday, but until then, it won't see the light of day.
There are a few things I would do differently now.
First, I would have studied writing I admired more for structure. I wrote like I talk, lots of odd digressions and rambling. My story was very challenging because it was had a lot of back-story to get out and I'm not satisfied that I did get all the back-story out very well (or did anything very well, actually).
Then, the pacing was poor. I had 40,000 words (the NaNoWriMo goal is 50K) and less than half the story told. Perhaps I should have followed the advice of the FAQ Entry and did my 50K without finishing my story, but I felt that was cheating somehow. So, I decided which scenes and facts from the story arc were absolutely necessary and rushed through them and got out the complete story. I'm somewhat glad I did, although the result is scary bad.
It was a very positive experience. I'd recommend it to anyone, but I will warn you that it is more work than you think it'll be. Especially if you hadn't written before, like me.
Now, I think I'll focus on some short stories. I've got a story idea that's been kicking around for awhile that I might just throw together. I'd be surprised if I could do more than 20K words on this story, but that's a good size short story. 50K is really short for a Novel. I think I could easily take my story and flesh it out to 150-200K, which is more typical of the length of a Novel. I'm concerned that I don't have the skills necessary to do justice to my story ideas, but we all suffer with our limitations and I don't know why my stories shouldn't suffer with my limitations.
I'm going to try and read more, also. I think I'll read what's at hand rather than any great plan. Right now, I'm going through C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia. I'd never read them before. They are fun but not as interesting as I thought they'd be. I'd read some of Lewis' other works years ago, stuff for adults like Screwtape and I thought they'd have more observations like I found there. Well, they are for children, so I should give them a break, I guess.