Just a few minutes 'til midnight, and then NaNoWriMo 2011 is a go!
I've started at midnight just about every NaNoWriMo. I don't have a get-up-early job, so I've maintained my college schedule of staying up late to write and tool around on the Internet. Starting at midnight makes me feel as though I have an "edge"; I get some word count in, go to bed, and wake up on the same day to write some more.
Last year, I didn't "win", for the first time ever. I wasn't in headlong, writing at 90 miles an hour with my original novel idea, Faded Giant. It's a novel I really like, and really want to finish, but it wasn't coming out. So, halfway through the month, I switched (crazy, right?). The Seven Lost Saints of Brooklyn was spilling out at a good clip, but unfortunately, not good enough. I got about halfway finished with both novels, but even if I "cheated" and put them both together, it wasn't 50k.
I successfully completed July's Camp NaNoWriMo, so I'm not novel-in-a-month gun shy, but it was an odd experience for me, to "lose". Arguably, I have two more half finished novels than I would otherwise have gained, so it's still a win. But, that's the way it goes.
The point of National Novel Writing Month is not to win. Nobody gives you anything if you win (well, CreateSpace gives you a free proof copy of your novel, if you get it together for their deadline in June). Winning doesn't get you published (arguably, your freshly done novel will horrify publishers, and you should take some prudent time to edit and edit some more).
The point of National Novel Writing Month is to write. Do it like nobody's watching, like nobody will read it, and like you're creating the last novel on earth. Do it, because as Chris Baty says, "there's a novel in you that only you can write" (paraphrased).