Really both options are valid. I've won both in NaNo ways. In some ways, for me, plotting is a better idea. The year I pantsed it (that's totally not a real word and no I don't care!), I wrote the beginning to book 1 of a trilogy. I need to finish book 1 after NaNo this "year". Meaning, between NaNos, I want to actively work on that book and finish it, and get the second (and third!) planned out.
But the idea, while the beginning came to me, was slow to mature. It was difficult to know where it was going. I had my characters and their reasons for behaving the way they did, but I had no earthly clue where the story was going. I ended up repeating myself a LOT and upon editing I will have to tear out a lot of stuff.
I thought I was being so clever... Turns out, being clever is not what you want! I was trying to tell the story from different points of view. And then when I read some of the books in the Game of Thrones series (I'm still behind!), I realized the way he did it might work, but the way I was doing it did not. I was repeating myself, not moving the story forward from one set of eyes, then bouncing back.
I was doing it that way so I could keep the word count up while continuing to have NO idea where it was all going. When I finally got my hook, it was about half way through the book, and it really picked up from there. If I had put some thought into it ahead of time, I would have known what the hook was, and been able to write toward it. It would have made it easier on me, come editing time.
Anyway! So, pantsing can work, and I know many people who it works very well for! If you have a general idea, maybe start there, but see if you can think a few steps ahead. Have an idea for where you are taking it all. It will probably help you along the way.
And if you are plotting, get it written down NOW! Today is the day. After all, I don't count my notes in my word count. It's not the story. It's the notes. So I can do that today. Unfortunately, this happens to be my very favorite holiday, AND I work all day. Well, Professor McGonagall works all day for me...
And she will be busy handing out candy all evening. Alas. I will have to wait for the trick or treaters to move along before I can really type it all out. But I have notes in my phone to get me started, and a very basic plot in mind.
Heck, I've told my basic idea to several people, and most of them demand to read it RIGHT NOW. So, I'm guessing, as long as I don't flub it up too badly, this one will go far. :) Just have to get it moving!
If you want to see, or friend me, or whatever, this is me over on NaNo. And be warned, the website is going to be BOGGED DOWN today. Keep trying and you'll get through. :)
Happy Writing!! Will post tips and such, just like last year. But if you're impatient, you can search for NaNo in my handy dandy search bar up over there <<< and find last year's notes! :)