Thanks Graham, I agree that 'hacking out the words for a novel' can definitely improve one's writing. That certainly was my experience long ago (almost 20 years ago now...eeek!) when I was pushing very very hard with my fiction ... several really bad novels at that time, but I learned a ton.
P.S. just signed up over at the nano site - kennych
but still not certain I'll do this....definitely leaning that way though...