Why I’m OKAY with Being a NaNo Rebel by Ann Woodford

Why I'm OKAY with Being a NaNo Rebel by Ann WoodfordLet’s welcome back monthly columnist Ann Woodford as she shares with us: “Why I’m OKAY with Being a NaNo Rebel.” Enjoy!


Today is the day I admit I probably won’t make my NaNo word count goal. 

It’s also the day I admit that’s OKAY. 

It’s just past the halfway point of NaNoWriMo and I’m staring at my word count which is just over 19K. That’s not nearly where I need to be at this point.

I know I could make it, if life were different. In past Nano’s I’ve hit much higher word counts than 50K. But this year it seems that is not to be. 

Which makes me a NaNo Rebel!  

A NaNo Rebel is anyone who doesn’t conform to the standard NaNoWriMo guidelines for a project, which include fanfiction, fictional memoir, and short stories among other acceptable works. 

Rebel projects include nonfiction memoir or books, scripts, graphic novels and of course anything less than a 50,000 word goal. 

My rebel status might be temporary. I mean there is a chance, however slim, that I might pull my word count out of the tank and finish strong, but it’s unlikely. 

It’s more likely that I’ll finish with about 30,000 words, or less, and be happy I got that done. Because any words, even 5, are better than none at all. 

So why am I a rebel this year? 

I’m glad you asked! 

In years past, when I’ve met or surpassed my goal, I was in a different life space. 

  • One year I was a stay-at-home mom and had far more time to devote to writing. 
  • One year it was because my sleep cycle got discombobulated and I was waking up at 4AM, long before the family was up. I needed a quiet activity to focus on and fill the time. You can get a lot written in the 3 or so hours before your kids wake up. 
  • And one year I spent a good portion of my day sitting in a library while my daughter worked there. With little else to do, I brought my laptop along, found a quiet corner, which is surprisingly easy to do at a library, and wrote. 

This year, that’s not my reality. 

My kids are grown, and driving themselves to work and school. My sleep cycle more or less matches that of the world around me. And, for the first time in my adult life, I’m working and have to answer to other people’s deadlines and expectations. 

This is how I’m managing that adjustment. 

I’m forgiving myself for not having the time and energy to commit to NaNo that I’ve committed in the past. 

I’m older, my life has changed, and my writing skill has changed. 

I’ll be honest, that 100k I wrote one year was 75% crap. Of course I didn’t realize that at the time, but I know it now. What I’m writing now, while not perfect, is cleaner. 

Kind of like if you washed your car off with the garden hose and no soap– after driving through several deep mud puddles. 

Yeah, that kind of clean. But it’s okay, because I’m learning. 

I’ve also started some freelance work and freelance work comes with time commitments and deadlines that I can’t ignore. 

I love the work. I love that I’m building a name and reputation for quality, reliability and depth. But those words I write for other people take away from the words I can write for Malcolm and Jillian. 

I’ve taken an outside part-time job for some extra money because of recent changes in my personal life. And again, that takes time and energy that I can’t give to my characters. 

It’s all OKAY, because I forgive myself and cheer what I can get done. 

So join me! Be a NaNo Rebel!

Use this time to outline, develop your characters, or plot scenes. 

If you can’t do NaNo this year, forgive yourself, focus on your life, which is far more important than a random word count in a busy month. There is always next year. 

Plan to join CampNaNo in April and July, which both come with the caveat that you can set your own word count goal. 

Whatever you do, remember that ultimately, you are writing for yourself. If you aren’t enjoying the writing process then you should step back and figure out what needs to be fixed so you can enjoy it.

If life intervenes with children, pets, family emergencies or work, it’s okay. Some years life needs us to be more involved than others. Take care of yourself. Be gentle and encourage yourself.  

How are you doing with NaNo? Are you being a Rebel this year? How are you nurturing your inner author this month? Check in and let me know! 

If you want to know more about being a NaNo Rebel check out this great post, NaNo Rebel Guide + Tracking Calculator. Jessica Brody offers suggestions for Rebel projects and how to track your progress. Being a Rebel can be fun!  



Ann WoodfordAnn Woodford is a writer of many talents. She writes both fiction and nonfiction and will release her first novel this year. She just finished her Master’s degree in Professional Communication and is working on building her grant writing consulting business, launching soon. She works as a marketing assistant and program facilitator for the Barany School of Fiction and does coaching and ghostwriting on the side.






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