I haven't participated in NaNoWriMo since. It's hard for me to schedule books around one month, so I don't even try. This year I finished a novel in September and since then I've been working on various edits and letting the creative batteries try to recharge. I had no interest in trying to push myself into NaNo, even though technically I could have done it this year. Well, I could have tried. There's no way I'd get fifty thousand words in a month these days, not while so much of my time is spent chasing down an energetic toddler.
NaNo can be fun and a great motivator, but I don't miss the insane pressure. Another reason I don't feel bad for not participating - for me, any month I'm writing a novel is my own national novel writing month. I would never say NaNo is for beginners because the camaraderie and motivation can be great at any point in your writing life. For me, however, participating was more meaningful when I had fewer books under my belt. The year I made it to fifty thousand words was a big deal for me because at that point, I was still learning how to write longer works. It was a big confidence booster. That confidence is part of why I don't mind sitting out NaNo these days. I know my process, I know I need a break between books, and I know I can finish a full length novel. I didn't know those things the year I crossed the NaNo finish line. So I'm very glad I did it, and I think it's an amazing thing to participate in, but it's not for everybody, especially every year, and that's fine.
This November is shaping up to be my own personal editing month, outlining month (that next book is just around the corner), and hopefully short story month. So I'm cheering from the sidelines as so many of my fellow writers take up the challenge of fifty thousand words in a single month. I wish you all the best of luck, as I sit here playing on Pinterest, watching old episodes of Buffy, and hanging out with my toddler. And if you're sitting out NaNo this year like I am, have fun with that, too. The words will be there on your own time.