Yep. Yesterday. This is such a wonderful thing. The process lends itself to turning off the critical internal editor because our focus in on our word count. Plus with the thirty-day deadline inherent within NaNoWriMo--as its slogan says, "Thirty days and nights of literary abandon!"--there is the proverbial ticking bomb to get us moving. So we have forward momentum, with no questioning or doubting to delay, distract, sideline or otherwise sabotage our efforts and presto! We get words written. Not an easy job, but can be done. Obviously. Check out the NaNoWriMo website for all the past winners each year.
While there is no prize money or plaque given, anyone who makes it over that 50,000 WC mark--and proves it by providing a copy (encrypted, please) of their document to the NaNo site--is deemed a winner that year. I do not know how many authors participated this year, but I do know that on Thanksgiving Day, at times there were over 80,000 people signed in. A quick internet search found this fact. About 200,000 people participated in NaNoWriMo 2010. Just amazing.
While I cannot maintain this daily November schedule over the remaining months of the year, I can see this becoming a seasonal activity for me, one every spring, summer, fall and winter. If NaNoWriMo is the fall setting, then February, May and August would be the additional months of writing with abandon. Then a month off from such strictly writing-generating activity to deal with whatever else makes your life full and satisfying, not to mention just having fun and filling up your memory tank. The next month would entail editing, clean-up work, maybe enlisting some Beta-readers, a Final Edit, then uploading the finalized e-book version.
This example precludes any day job is factored in. If so, the process above slows down a bit. A lot actually. But a plan is a plan. Even if you have to modify it to work around that thing called life.
P.S. I encrypted my novel before copying and sending to NaNo to confirm my WC. My actual WC is 50,017. My "winner" WC shown otherwise within the NaNoWriMo site (which is a much bigger WC) must be due to the encryption adding in characters. Even if the WC shown within nanowrimo.org is inflated, I'm a "winner" nonetheless. Congrats to all 2011 NaNoWriMo participants and winners!