Short answer: Yes and no.
Long answer: Last year, I made it to the NaNoWriMo finish line by the skin of my teeth. I sat panting at my screen from the effort. I felt exhilarated as I printed out my lovely WINNER certificate. And then I realized that what I had was completely unusable. I didn’t even bother to have the draft printed up as a book, which was one of last year’s prizes for winning. It was that bad.
I had high hopes for that book (and I still love the concept), but the effort to push through to 50,000 words in 30 days virtually killed any good writing instincts I had. Those who can do it well in 30 days most likely have had lots of writing practice, so their muscle memory or plot memory for constructing a story is far more fine-tuned than the rest of us. I’m also willing to bet they had a good concept of what they wanted to write going in, and they worked on it long after Nano was finished.
Some people call writing an art. Some call it a craft. Either way, good writing takes care. And care takes time. There are a lot of “write a book in 30 days” instruction manuals out there. All of them are gimmicks. Trust me. I’ve tried it. You want to believe that this is a good way to write a book, and maybe it’s a good way to train yourself to sit in your chair and get words on the screen, but rushing will get you nowhere fast.
Agent Jane Friedman among others, has raised her concerns about Nano novels, and has offered some advice.
Despite my objections, I am doing NaNoWriMo again this year, mainly because it’s fun to commune with other writers. Also this year my expectations are more realistic and I have a plan:
1) I’m doing an extensive outline so I don’t end up with an unusable draft.
2) I won’t abandon my writing instincts just to win.