I'm in the same boat as you! I'm thinking of it as a way to get myself to sit down and really write something instead of toying around with it for a little while and putting it away. I'm really excited about it!
I actually went to several meetings for the 2007 nanowrimo, but I never finished my novel...I've been TRYING to write a novel for a while...I wrote a 48 page book at age 12, but I lost the manuscript. I have no idea if it was over 50,000 words, probably not. I've been trying to write it again since that first draft...so for nanowrimo I'll have to come up with a completely new story. I have one in mind, but it's a fantasy novel so I'm probably going to plan a lot in advanced...or I may just go with a realistic fiction book as that doesn't involve creating an entire universe.
Yeah, my NaNoWriMo novel was at about 150 pages at the 50k word mark. :) I'd love to have meetings in my area to attend, but I'm considering being an on-campus liaison at my college.
I planned like crazy for about two weeks in advance for 2008 NaNoWriMo, and it really paid off. I wrote a fantasy story, too. :) But I think creating an entire universe was actually easier during an event like this, as it allows you to just take your plot in whichever direction unfolds most easily as it comes... and you don't have to worry about getting bogged down in, "Yeah but would this really happen?" and all that. :) Just something to consider!
Aww! :) I'm sure it wasn't so bad. It helps to have a sort of support group keeping you accountable, to make sure you write your 1,667 words a day to stay on track, and to help you stay motivated when you feel like your story's going down the drain. :)