I have been taking part in NaNoWriMo since 2006 and have won every year since 2007. In the past I have explained why I think it is useful for writers looking to complete a first draft. From taking part in the programme not only have I learned discipline and seen a novel through to finish, it has also given me the self-confidence that writing is something I am capable of, and that there is always time to write no matter what the circumstance.
All this considered, it may seem a little strange that I am not taking part in NaNoWriMo this year, and in fact it has only been over the last couple of months that I have really finalised that decision. It is not because I won't be writing, and it is not because I've become one of those snobs who looks down on the programme and can't see the benefits. Rather, I am going to use my time productively to create a first draft organically. By that I mean, I am going to give myself the time to let my prose develop, my characters breath, my plot develop at a natural rate, so that (hopefully) I don't have too many major problems when it comes to the second draft.
I believe that if I did not work full time (and wasn't also studying German) I may be able to write an excellent first draft for a novel through NaNoWriMo in 30 days. However, because work is crazy busy, because I can never seem to go long without adding a new extra-curricular activity into my schedule, what I get through NaNoWriMo is passionate if sketchy dream worlds that need a lot of elbow grease afterwards.
So that is why I am not doing NaNoWriMo this year. I will miss uploading my daily word count into the website and chatting with people in the forums, but it's for my own good.
Best of luck to all those who will be taking part! I hope you get what you want out of it.
For me, for now, I am moving on.