NaNo's all over the blogo, and I'd like to weigh in on this, if I may.
First, let me say: It's all right to fail!
Odds are you will NOT reach 50kw in one month.
Odds are you will NOT have a readable or editable manuscript.
Odds are you will NOT be able to edit and revise that (unreadable) manuscript into something saleable.
Folks, I'm a pragmatist and overly honest. I call it like I see it. I don't believe in false confidence or unrealistic expectations, and I'm telling you right now, NaNo is chock full of unrealistic expectations.
Let me tell you the reality of NaNo.
... a way to kick off your writing habit, if you do not already have one.
... a means of re-establishing your routine, if you've lost it.
... a fine excuse for dealing with your Writer's Guilt (see my previous posts on this).
NaNo is NOT...
... a good or easy way to write a novel (this is debatable, but is true for my writing style).
... the only way to write a novel.
... the only time of the year you should be writing.
So with that said, let me suggest this to you, my writer friends:
Use November to...
... establish (or re-establish) a consistent writing habit.
... write something legible and healthy.
... educate those around you that writing is ~important~ to you!
The point is, folks, be healthy during NaNo. Set realistic expectations. Don't give in to the peer pressure to set random goals you ~cannot~ achieve.
Be honest with yourself. Keep your balance -- there is no sense neglecting other parts of your life to hit a random word count of 50k words. You'll only frustrate yourself and those around you.
Do your best, and so long as you make forward progress, you are a success. 12k words, success. 5k words, success. Polished revision, success.
Do you see? Please say you see.
My fear is that NaNo discourages writers who "fail" to get the badge. It's a fine idea, folks, but don't be upset if you miss that arbitrary mark, and don't get all flippant if you do.
Because hey, I hit 50k words a long fucking time ago and I wasn't the first. Good job, now sit down and keep writing.