I've learned if it's possible to get up at 5 a.m. and write, anything is possible! I've learned that my best friend right now is an afternoon nap. I've learned that 1,666 words in one stretch are not all that intimidating.
Because of NaNo, I’m more verbose, less intimidated by the white page. I blather freely knowing it all adds to the word count. More is better with NaNo. Rather than looking for the perfect words and self-editing as I go, I’m learning to be less self-conscious. I feel like I’m following the Ray Bradbury model. “Don't think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It's self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can't try to do things. You simply must do things.”
This blathering, this 'talkng it out on paper' is kind of a silent movie version of talking to myself. If I was speaking my NaNo text aloud, someone, my husband mostly likely, would shuffle me off to the back room when friends arrive at the door.
The day before I started NaNoWriMo, I read Nathan Branford's NaNo Bootcamp postings which helped me realize a road map was crucial to this kamikaze style of writing. I only had a general plot idea, so at the last minute, I worked out about 35 plot points, one sentence each. I had a variety characters I loved, all with a purpose to assist or challenge the Protagonist. Each plot point has become my NaNo assignment for the day, working itself nicely into a scene/chapter. Each day, I re-evaluate the journey, making adjustments for the ways my characters don't always like to stay on the predetermined route.
I've learned that I can write on airplanes, noisy coffee shops and empty houses. (Don't ask.)
I've learned how much the challenge of NaNoWriMo is motivating me when I needed a good kick in the butt!