I'm very sad at all the backlash I see NaNo getting this year. In fact, this post was originally a comment I left on a blog in response to one of the many "Is NaNo Good for Real Writers?" posts floating about the web right now.
The criticism is sounding either a heck of a lot like elitism or, alternately, a convenient set of excuses to avoid the true grunt work that real writing is : just you and the page, persisting putting words together for the purpose of a recognizable result. When every man and his dog really IS doing it you realize two things: 1) it's not as easy to be a writer as you might think (the minimum word count per day for NaNo is an average work day for a pro - and working writers HAVE to end up with 'good' words to keep their jobs) and 2) putting words on the page is where the writing begins, not ends. It's up to you how much quality you aim for.
**I just discovered GothNoWriMo (another unofficial offshoot of NaNoWriMo using the same concept) now exists - write a Gothic Novel during October in time for Halloween (so still 30 days only). That would be a fun group of people to connect with!
*** There are a ton of helpful tools available to help you quality-check along the way during NaNo - the community is very helpful in providing assistance to those who really are interested in producing quality. This website HERE for instance, has a quick quiz to check if you're falling into the Mary Sue trap with your MC. It works best if you're brutally honest with yourself and the process may actually teach you a few things along the way too. Either way, your writing will get better. Oh, and how did I find the website? Through a NaNoWriMo connection.
Note: Image at head of post by Monica Langlois as indicated. Ms. Langlois' work also has a lot lurking under the surface. please click on her picture "Lolly the Unsuspecting" to go to her website & see her extensive portfolio.
Image of Kraken - artist unknown