One of the biggest mistakes I made last time was signing up at the last minute. I had no idea (or not a very solid idea) of what I was going to write. This year, I signed up in advance and I have an idea sketched out. I'm going to write more of a non-fiction type of story. More of a self-reflection project. I'm not sure if I can make 50,000 words with this idea but I'm going to try.
Last year I tried to make up a fantasy story as I went. I eventually realized that I had no idea where I wanted it to go. So, I already started brainstorming about what I'd like to include in this year's novel.
I also don't have a midterm paper/exam due this year.
We'll see how it goes! I'm definitly looking forward to it.