I do this every year. Then, I am shocked and bewildered into tears when I fail... every damn year. Future Kristin, future participants, here is why NaNoWriMo may not be the best option for you.
Unless you are already writing, sitting in front of a computer or notebook for hours every day will give you the willies. You will begin talking to plants, dogs, or that fuzzy google-eyed end of your eraser. If you hate cats, you may find yourself outside talking to them, changing your voice inflection. "Hell-oh, ki-ttens." Suddenly, you have lost yourself, loving kittens, wanting to write about your newfound feeling for ki-tten rights. Then, when there are peers around, you get busted talking to plants, dogs, or that fuzzy google-eyed end of your eraser... or, the ki-ttens. There is no "method writing" excuse for us.
If you are writing, fantastic. Keep it up. You have a set schedule. You are, as I tell other writers, doing the main thing: keeping your ass in the chair. This is the hardest part of being a writer, especially when one wants to flit over to the coffee shop ("I'm a WRITER!") or a reading at a local college ("I'm a WRITER!) or just leave snarky messages about other books on BN.com or Amazon ("I'm a WRITER who goes by A1Author69!").
But, if you are writing, the email to join NaNoWriMo is like a siren's call: finish a book in a month. Dreams begin to fast-forward on the mental loop. This baby could be sold by Valentine's Day. My tour could fit with my summer sabbatical. And, the insanity begins.
What have you completed to perfection in one month's time? I figured out how to combine the ingredients for Dodge's cocoa, but I have not been able to make it perfectly since. I have written beautiful sentences that I re-read to remind me to keep writing, but there are also some clunkers to steer me toward a career in dog or ki-tten grooming.
Writing takes time. Writing takes a personal rhythm. Only you know the beat of the week, the earworm of the month. Guilt produces nothing but empty pages. Remember this.