Setting Self Doubt on Fire: NaNoWriMo and Self-Doubt


It’s that time of year again. The time where writers across the world join together and promise that they will complete 50,000 words, yes 50,000 words, in November. Now the promise is mostly to themselves, don’t worry, you won’t get detention if you miss the target.  The NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is a great way to motivate you to either start your novel or finish it, and this year will be my first attempt.

Now, as great as this challenge is, it can also be nerve-racking, and guess who will come along to add to your stress. Yes, you have it, Mr Self-Doubt. He will sit slouched in his chair, drinking a cocktail (wine, or beer. I’m a cocktail girl), and laughing at you for even thinking of accepting the NaNoWriMo challenge.

Well, I’m here to tell all of your Mr Self-Doubts, to get lost because I know that all of you out there can take on this challenge, and yes, you may not reach 50,000 words, but as long as you have written something, you are a WINNER.

So today, I have taken some of the fears you may have, and will be tackling them.

Here you have it, 5 fears, and many solutions:

  • You will fail the challenge: I’ve decided to start with the most common fear. 50,000 words in a month. How could you possibly do it? What if you can’t do it? You have commitments after all. Well folks, I must inform you all that even if you haven’t reached 50,000 words by the end of November, by having anything from 1 to 49,999 words you are still closer to a completed novel, so don’t focus on what you haven’t done, focus on what you have.
  • Your novel will be rubbish: You’ve reached 50,000 words. You have part of a novel before you (or finished if you have used the NaNoWriMo to finish your novel), but on reading you notice a lot of it is gibberish. It doesn’t make sense, and thousands could be cut. Don’t panic! For many of us this is just called a first draft. Having something written is better than nothing at all, and you have this thing called the editing process. Editing can be tedious at times, but it allows you to have a rubbish first draft, and from there you can finally create the novel you desire.
  • You’re not ready to start, you’ve not planned enough: I myself constantly feel that I haven’t planned enough (I’m a planner in every aspect of my life lol), but after writing my first novel (yeah, that’s still in the box), I realized that it doesn’t matter if you’ve not figured it all out. Allowing the characters to guide you through is part of the magic. I was amazed myself by how new scenes and events popped into my head. So don’t worry if your wall isn’t filled with notes, allow yourself to go with the flow.
  • You don’t think you’ll have the time: The only thing I have to say here is, MAKE TIME. Instead of spending hours watching television, switch off and write. Get up earlier than normal. Cut down on your outings. I’m not talking about staying in all the time, but if you go out drinking every night, you could reduce it to twice a week instead. You can use your journey times; carry a notebook, tablet, phone, back of your hand. OK, that last one isn’t realistic, but you get my point.
  • You get writer’s block: Oh, the dreaded writer’s block. There’s nothing worse than having to deal with that when you have a deadline. How do you overcome it? Well, I’m sure each of you has your own little tricks, but I have some for you. You could go out for a walk. Do a different activity, something relaxing. Have a nap; dreams are wonderful things. Rather than write your daily word target in one sitting, write several times a day. Breaking it down will make it less daunting.

There you have it, so take that Mr Self-Doubt. This time next week, we writers will be taking on this NaNoWriMo challenge, and at the end we will all be winners.

To end this post, here is another inspirational quote:

“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” – Michael Jordan


Nicole Simms

Nicole J. Simms is a UK horror, crime and fantasy writer. However, she is open to writing in other genres.Her stories have been published in anthologies, in magazines and on websites. In 2016, she won the Nine Voices’ 50-Word Halloween Competition with her story ‘Meeting the Parents’. And, her self-published e-book The Book of Drabbles is now available to download for free.She is also the deputy leader of the Oldbury Writing Group, a West Midlands based writing group. They have published a WW2 anthology together titled From Sunrise to Sunset, and they are now working on their second anthology.Stephen King, Sharon Bolton, J. K. Rowling, R. L. Stine and Kelley Armstrong are some of her favourite authors. And, when she’s not writing, she loves to bake, paint, knit and go on nature walks.Find out more at:Website - link - link - link -

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4 Responses

  1. October 9, 2019

    […] if you plan to try NaNoWriMo and suffer from self-doubt, then read my ‘NaNoWriMo and Self-Doubt’ […]

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