NaNoWriMo is all about the word count. It provides motivation in various ways (through personal competition with writing buddies, through inter-regional word wars, through timed word war sprints, and through pep talks), all of it intended to help writers break through the mental barriers to achieve their writing goals.
Does it mean to give up quality? No, not really. It can be amazing the quality of what you can achieve if you try.
Does it mean to give up editing? No, of course not. But during November writers are encouraged to turn off their internal editor if that force is one that inhibits you from writing.
This posting is for those of you who have stopped writing or who are behind. Maybe you gave up because of good and practical reasons (work, school, personal illness or tragedy), but if you have the time and the will to do so, I challenge you to reach for the next level of your writing goal. If you have fewer than 10,000 words, then strive for 10,000. If you have fewer than 20,000, write until you make it past that goal. You may not reach 50,000 (though it is still possible to do it–I’ve seen people make up more than 40,000 words in just three days), but if you can make it to that next 10k level, you will have gotten that much closer to writing your novel.
If you have never completed a novel, it is important to break through that barrier, even if it takes you beyond November. There is, for example, National Novel Finishing Month (December); and there is our the Journey, our year-round writing group. Making it to your next 10k milestone will make it that much more likely that you will succeed on your next attempt. Don’t give up.
(and, of course, your words will help us make a comeback on Calgary–everyone with non-zero wordcount and homed to Naperville will count to our regional average).