Guide to Weird Writer Problems of NaNoWriMo

Posted by Bree Crowder

NaNoWriMo is such a wonderful and terrible time. It’s wonderful because there is an entire community of writers working toward a similar goal. We’re all in this together, and there’s something really beautiful in that.

It’s terrible because, well, let us count the ways…


Explaining NaNoWriMo to people who’ve never heard of it and have no interest in it: A Writer’s Worst Nightmare.

NaNo… what? Let’s face it: if you’ve never shown any interest in writing before, you probably have no idea what NaNoWriMo is. And explaining what it is to someone who’s never heard of it…well, that’s what we call fun!


That blank screen is both a blessing and a curse.

You have two ways to look at this: a daunting mountain that’s impossible to climb, or a beautiful white canvas just waiting for your unique imprint. It’s up to you.


The thoughts…they’re not there, and my fingers are ready to burn a hole in the keyboard.

1,667 words every single day?! We just don’t even know what to put on this stupid blank page/screen. Who has enough thoughts to fill a whole book?


I’m writing these words even though I know they’re sh!# because there’s a goal to meet, okay?

You know what? That IS okay. You can’t edit a blank page. You CAN edit a questionable first draft.


Constant fear that this project isn’t worth the time.

Thirty days of writing 1,667 words a day is a big commitment, there’s no doubt about it. What if you spend all this time on a project that turns out to be a project that’s not worth pursuing?


The thoughts…they’re flowing faster than my fingers can type.



Inspiration can strike at the most inconvenient times.

It usually does, amiright? That’s okay, we’re writers. We know how to get crafty about squeezing that writing time in (even when it is truly inconvenient). Driving? Ask Siri to make some notes. At work? That’s what lunch breaks are for.


I JUST WANT TO SHARE THIS WITH EVERYONE, but it isn’t even done yet.

Yeah, we’ve all been there: you’re right in the middle of that first draft and everything feels SO exciting. You just want to share this work of brilliance with EVERYONE, but it isn’t finished yet. We feel you.


There’s this huge community of writers working towards the same goal, and I still can’t seem to find my place.

Any writer who has tried to break into an online space with no encouragement knows how disheartening this can be. Will I find my place, will people engage with me? Sometimes it takes many, many tries to get it right. Your tribe is out there! Don’t give up.


I’m somehow supposed to write about life without actually having one for 30 days.

HA. Conflict? Dialogue? How are we supposed to write about these things when we’re not experiencing them on the daily? Let’s face it, we’re all in our writing holes every spare minute we can get.

Maybe take a walk?


Netflix? It doesn’t exist until December 1st.

Seriously. If you take one piece of advice, let it be this: DON’T WATCH NETFLIX. You will get sucked down the vortex of multiple-episode-watching and then it’ll be 2:00am and you’ve got work/school in the morning and you didn’t write ANYTHING tonight. Oops.


No Netflix? No Pinterest, either.



What do other people do in November with their free time? What do people without hobbies do?

Honestly. What do people without hobbies do? Writing is taking up all of your free time. What are other people even doing?



Hello, micro managers! Feeling that overwhelming need to edit? You’ve got to suppress it. You can do this! Open a new document, write in white font, use programs that don’t allow you to backspace. Overcome the editing urge!


Anything that happens to us in November is fair game, y’all. Don’t cross us. You might end up in a book.

You’ve been warned.