7 Last-Minute NaNoWriMo Fears Destroyed

Having doubts about signing up for NaNoWriMo days before the big start day? I debunk every doubt about signing up for National Novel Writing Month so that you are fear-free on November 1.

Subscribe to KLWightman.com Blog Upper ButtonNational Novel Writing Month starts in days and you’re already regretting your decision to sign up and write 50,000 words.

You’re not alone.

Just check out Twitter, especially #NaNoWriMo, #preptober and #NaNoPrep. You’ll find fellow writers like yourself having mini meltdowns.

What you won’t find are tweets saying that they’re going to pass on this opportunity to write their next novel because it’s too hard.

If you’re looking for justification as to why you should step away from the challenge, you won’t find it here.

If you want to be inspired to write your next novel during November despite what life throws at you, keep reading.

What If I Have No Idea What to Write?

Welcome to the pantser side of National Novel Writing Month! If you haven’t spent much—or all—of October planning the plot of your novel, then you are taking the “winging it” approach to the challenge.

Notice that I didn’t say you have a free pass to skip out on NaNoWriMo.

How to Write an Outline via KLWightman.comMany successful writers achieve their 50,000-word goal without having anything planned in advance. It can be done.

If planning, not pantsing, is more your jam, then there’s still time to get a basic plan in place. Start by finding a writing prompt that sparks your creativity. My favorite NaNoWriMo writing prompt feeds are SparkNotes and BuzzFeed.

What If I Don’t Reach 50K Words?

You only reach 49,999 words or 25,000 words or 10,000 words or 863 words.

That’s still more words written prior to November 1.

50,000 words is a ballpark estimate for a short novel. Even those that reach 50,000 words still have a lot more writing and editing ahead after November 30.

The purpose of NaNoWriMo isn’t to win. It’s to get more of your story down on paper. And National Novel Writing Month inspires you to make that happen.

It’s okay not to win. It’s not okay to never write your story.

What If I Hate Every Word of My Draft?

It’s a draft for a reason. You’re supposed to hate a lot of it and change it later.

Key phrase: Change it later.This is what your inner editor does to your writing

The purpose of NaNoWriMo isn’t to write a novel that’s ready for the press. It’s to finally get your ideas out of your head and on paper. It’s when your words are in black and white that you can decide what needs to stay and what needs to go.

Let me put it this way: Name one story you’ve written that you’ve loved every word and every plot point.

You can’t. Even your favorite writers hated the first draft of their most successful novels.

Remember: The goal of NaNoWriMo isn’t to write the best draft. It’s to write at least 50K words of your story.

Embrace the hate and keep writing.

What If I Can’t Keep Up?

November is already a crazy month. Thanksgiving happens. Christmas plans start to fall in place. Schoolwork grows increasingly harder. Company projects pick up their pace to avoid the stall of December.

How to win NaNoWriMo? Here’s how I tackled National Novel Writing MonthFor years, I did my own version on NaNoWriMo because I couldn’t commit to the high demands of National Novel Writing Month.

And I wish I did the real deal. Why? Because several novels are still swimming inside my head, waiting to be written.

Instead of telling yourself that you can’t keep up and run away from this challenge, be proactive. What days do you already know will be fully occupied? Now adjust your daily word count goal so that you don’t feel guilty for living your life in November.

What If My Friends Think I’m Crazy?

Let’s be honest: Your friends already think you’re crazy. And it has nothing to do with National Novel Writing Month.

Writing 50,000 words in 30 days sounds insane. That’s how I feel about racing in a marathon—and I actually enjoy running!

You shouldn’t be concerned if your friends think you’re crazy. It comes with the territory of being a writer. What’s concerning is if your friends try to talk you out of signing up for NaNoWriMo or tell you that you can’t do it.

Their doubts may have nothing to do with you. They could be imagining themselves as you and deciding that they can’t do it.

But your friends don’t want to write a novel. You do. So you need to do what’s best for you.

If deep down you know that participating in National Novel Writing Month is the only way you’ll get your story written, then you must accept the challenge and crazy accusations.

Besides, don’t our favorite literary heroes face doubt from their closest companions?

What If My NaNoWriMo Novel Never Gets Published?

Why are you thinking that far out? Your attention needs to focus on today!

The National Novel Writing Month challenge isn’t to write 50K words and get them published. The goal is to write 50K words. Period.

Here's why I'm okay that I'm not published (yet)Of course we want our story to be read. Stories are meant to have readers. And publishing it provides better exposure to increase your audience size.

But you’re putting the cart before the horse. You need to write the manuscript and NaNoWriMo is the perfect chance to make that happen.

What you do next is up to you. You can work at making it manuscript ready. You can seek out publishing houses or literary agents. Or you can keep your draft locked away in a drawer.

There are infinite possibilities after your write your draft. But first you need to write it.

What If…What If…

If you’re still reading this blog post, it’s either because you enjoy my writing or you’re still hoping for me to tell you that you can’t do it.

Sorry. I think you can do it.

It’s time for some inner reflection. Why are you seeking excuses to excuse you from National Novel Writing Month? Why do you doubt your writing talent and your willpower to write 50K words?

If you do nothing else before November 1, focus your energy on this. 

It doesn’t matter how many outlines you have created. If you don’t think you can do NaNoWriMo, then you won’t write your novel.

Ask yourself these questions: What if I reach 50,000 words? What if my story is finally written? What if I can say that I have written a novel?

Feels good, right? That’s the writer you want to be. And in November, you can be that writer. Just remember that writer is already you.

Still not inspired? Find a NaNoWriMo pep talk that fits your fancy here.

What excuses have held you back from signing up for NaNoWriMo? Share your stories in the comments section below.


  1. This is one of the best NaNoWriMo posts I’ve seen.
    Many people worry too much about NaNo and what might not happen. I think the best thing is trying. It might not work (like for me last year), it might work wonderfully (like for me most years), so why worry?
    It’s going to be fun and having fun should be our main worry 😉

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more! Even I have been trying to find a valid excuse that would let me bow out of such a steep challenge this year. But what’s the point of blogging about NaNoWriMo if I’m not going to do it?

      What I love so much about the NaNoWriMo community is that we’re not competing with each other but whole-heartedly believing that all of us can do this. Thanks for the kind words on my biog post 😊

  2. Right now, I am writing a book. I was a storyteller back when I was a kid. My parents always told me to write my stories down, but I never wrote any of them. I don’t know why I never wrote any of them. I don’t know what kept me back: glad I am writing one of my stories down. I have been writing my Fairy Frogs book since July: it sits at 110 pages (a children’s fantasy). I am the one writing a book, and I don’t know how to write a book, but doing it anyway. This book of mine- my 1st book I am trying to write. Now on break II- not going to go back to it till a few months

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