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With NaNoWriMo starting today, I don’t have much of a status report of my progress. I’m currently typing away at my manuscript, hoping to get through my first 1700 words. Goodbye, world, I’ll see you again in December!

All kidding aside, The NaNoWriMo challenge brings a lot of fear, stress, and anxiety along with it. It is a big commitment to take on the challenge and requires discipline to finish successfully.

The challenge is meant to be fun and allows your creativity to flow as writers around the world are trying to finish a novel at the same time. However, it’s okay to get stressed out, overwhelmed, and take a break.

In fact, there will be days you’re staring at your screen, unable to find a single word to write. I have those moments, even in everyday writing.

Today, I want to talk about common fears, anxieties, and pitfalls we face as writers surrounding NaNoWriMo and how to overcome them. Things like time management, feeling overwhelmed, and not feeling good enough.

Time Management

Pitfalls of NaNoWriMo Time Management

The first pitfall of NaNoWriMo is Time management. Picture this: my goal is to write 1700 words a day during the month of November. I must also balance completing my assignments for class and maintaining my posts for this blog. Also, the new Call of Duty Zombies game comes out mid-month, and I’m going to want to play that and master the new map (Let’s be real, I won’t have the time to play with speed writing a book).

So, having the ability to manage my time is going to be crucial this month. There are going to come moments where I’ve only written a hundred words, and I’m going to want to do something else. Setting a schedule that I stick to will help ensure time management doesn’t become a pitfall for completing NaNoWriMo.

If you know you have a ton to do throughout the month of November, a lot of hours at work, and minimal time to dedicate exclusively to writing, get creative. I would recommend showing up an hour or two early to work to get in some writing before you start. Write on your breaks.

Back in my undergrad, I had roommates who would come home after the closing shift, bundle themselves in a blanket, and write until the break of dawn the next morning.  They were dedicated to finishing NaNoWriMo every year.

No one knows your time better than yourself. Makes sure to find time to write and take care of yourself. If you need a break, take that rest!

Being Overwhelmed

Pitfalls of NaNoWriMo OverwhelmedIt’s Mid-November, you’re 5000 words behind your goal, and you want to give up. This is when the challenge feels most overwhelming. It’s like trying to commit to a New Years’ resolution of eating healthy. You start strong in the beginning, and as time goes on, you lose motivation.

NaNoWriMo is the same way. The biggest pitfall is feeling overwhelmed and giving up. You aren’t used to spending so much time writing day after day. It’s hard, and after staring at your screen for several hours with no words to add, it’s easy to say never mind.

It becomes more of a challenge when life is pulling you in twenty other directions, and you don’t have the time to write. You see, the days go by, and your word count is hardly growing. It’s disheartening.

First, you are not alone. There are many writers all over the world feeling overwhelmed just like you. It’s okay and normal to fall behind. As I said earlier, if you need a rest, take that break.

Another technique I like to use is writing more than your word goal for the day you feel incredibly productive.  By writing more, you permit yourself to write less on days where it isn’t possible.

NaNoWriMo is a balancing act—you are juggling your regular routine and adding writing to the mix. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed. Just remember, you got this!

Imposter Syndrome

PitFalls of NaNoWriMo_ imposter Syndrome

The final pitfall of NaNoWriMo happens when you’re moving right along with your manuscript. You’re meeting all your wordcount milestones, and then the dreaded thought hits; every word you have written is crap, and you’re not a real writer.

First, I want to say that statement is false and ignore it at all costs. It is just imposter syndrome trying to ruin your momentum. You are doing fantastic, and your story matters. No one else can tell this story better than you.

Second, you’re writing the first draft of your manuscript. No one gets their first draft published. The goal is to get the skeleton onto the page, so later you can edit and fine-tune it into the masterpiece that is waiting to reveal itself.

Everyone faces the curse of imposter syndrome while writing their first draft. You are creating a whole world from nothing while you pour yourself on the page. It’s easy for the critiquing mind to question the work. Everyone wants their first draft to be a masterpiece, and unfortunately, it never happens. Even the classics had first drafts that will never be read by another soul.

Keep calm, and keep writing. You are a writer with a story to tell, and soon you’re going to be an amazing author! You are worthy.


NaNoWriMo is a fun and stressful challenge that will push you to your breaking point and back again. The three major pitfalls that I notice from my NaNoWriMo’s past attempts are time management, becoming overwhelmed, and imposter syndrome.

Without proper time management, the month gets away from you, and you fall behind. It feels impossible to catch back up. Then you become overwhelmed and want to give up. You have too much on your plate and don’t feel worthy. And finally, even if you are on top of everything, imposter syndrome sneaks its way into your mind making you feel you are wasting your time.

It’s all normal, and you can do it. Have a plan to schedule your writing, take breaks when you need them, and remember, your favorite novels started as a messy first draft. Now get out there and write a kick@$% story!’

Comment below and let me know how your NaNoWriMo is going!

If you don’t know where to begin writing, consider signing up for my 5-Day Start Your First Novel Challenge. I walk you through finding an idea, creating a character, and plotting your story. It’s free and only takes around 15 minutes a day!

If You enjoyed this article and love the tips we provide, consider becoming a writing bean, and supporting Writing Tips and Sips, even a dollar helps maintain my website so I can continue creating educational content!

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C. D. Baron

Here at Writing Tips and Sips, I aim to help aspiring fantasy writers – like yourself – become the best that you can be. Grab some coffee and sip while enjoying a plethora of writing advice as well as tips on world-building, for every level. Included within this site is my world-building, book bible for Symphonia, used as an example for advice that we offer. Looking forward to working with you! -C. D. Baron