DSF Weekly Rewind: I won NaNo!!

Good evening beautiful Rewinders! Normally I don’t write this post until Sunday, but this week you’re lucking out and getting it early! And you’re getting a two-for-one Rewind!

That’s partially because I feel a little guilty about not writing anything on here last week. Mostly, though, it’s because I want to write, but need a little break from my NaNoWriMo project. I’ve done nothing but write in my spare time during the last 48 hours of NaNoWriMo!!

But it was worth it because I won. 


This is the first year I’ve ever won NaNoWriMo, and it feels good, although I felt like I was cheating a couple of times. It was a story I’d written before but wasn’t happy with. Actually, it was my NaNoWriMo project from several years ago… that I’d shared and  posted some key scenes on here even.

I had been posting it on Tablo, thinking if people read it, they’d give feedback and I’d have the confirmation that I sometimes need that my writing isn’t total garbage, but no one ever commented, even though I could see that people had read it.

So I let it sit.

And then, through the various writerly Twitter chats that I participate in (and host), I realized that my characters were totally flat. They had no real backstory. They weren’t real people, just caricatures of people. Not even proper archetypes, which I would have found acceptable.

There was the beautiful girl who for some reason needed rescuing. There was the ex-boyfriend who was harboring a crush. There was the Dudley Do-Right style cop who might become a victim. And there was the true love interest, who was (as cliche as it is) going to save the girl.

But there was no reason for them to be those people. No connections, no history (either together or separate), no chemistry….

Well… there was chemistry. Oh was there chemistry!


But just chemistry isn’t enough to make a story…

So, this NaNoWriMo, I redid the story. There were some scenes that were nearly perfect the way they were, but (to be fair) I opened them side by side and retyped the scenes. Not only was that the only way to not feel guilty about getting the required 50K word count (required to “win”), but it also allowed me to make sure I still liked the scenes without wasting the time to read them by themselves first.

Then the week of Thanksgiving, I basically gave up for a week. Not because I truly gave up, but because I was exhausted for the first half of the week, and the second half was consumed by family.


This year was the closest thing to “Home For the Holidays” my Thanksgiving has ever been! It seems like everything that could go wrong, did:

  • My dog went missing.
  • My mom wasn’t in town.
  • Going to my dad’s house, we forgot half of the required cooking utensils (like a roasting pan and a potato masher… and a carving knife!)
  • One of my brothers almost decided not to go because he thought it would be awkward…
  • My nephew refused to eat anything but popcorn.

And yet, it turned out to be mostly really beautiful.

I also spent a great deal of time watching my nephew, which was perfectly fine because that kid is to-die-for level of cute!

I think I opened my computer three times while I was home, and twice, it was to show my nephew videos on Netflix.


That’s him waving hello because he realized I was trying to take his picture.

Cutest. Kid. Ever!

Overall, it was a successful Thanksgiving, even though my brothers and I had never cooked without our grandmother or mother there (they were on a trip to see Grandma’s sister). It reminded me of the importance of family which led to this song for my rewind:

I didn’t come home until Saturday, and then between my usual Sunday shenanigans and the not so normal getting ready to go back to school errands, I didn’t think to do the Rewind.

I’m a terrible friend, I know it.

This week was a jumble of getting back to the teaching grind, writing frantically to get caught up on NaNoWriMo, and starting the #FitGirls challenge.

Teaching is always difficult the week before and the week after a holiday, and it was made worse this week because there’s the silly state test retakes next week. My kids tell me they don’t feel ready. I don’t blame them. When I try to keep up with the rest of my team, we go entirely too fast for them to get anything, and if I slow down, we have to cut stuff out so we don’t get too far behind.

It’s kind of a precarious balancing act when planning…


Tuesday, one of my best friends in the whole wide world showed up from out of state to go to dinner. It was a funeral that brought him to town, so I’m sorry for the circumstances, but so glad we got to see each other… even if it meant that I ruined my diet on the very second day!!


But it was totally worth it! (And I made up for it the rest of the week. I’ve already lost a pound!)

I’m still waiting for him to send me the pic his partner took of us together, but it was a great night out!

Made for a rough Wednesday, though. And when I had 12,000 words to write to get to my goal, plus teaching, plus training after school, it was especially rough. I fell asleep before posting my word count for the day.

There’s just so much to do… Hence, this song feels like an appropriate anthem for this week:

Thursday, was a little better, but I still had a ton to do! I now do my writing club (at the school) on Mondays and Thursdays. But just because I’m in Writing Club until 5, doesn’t mean I get to write. Oh no! I’m the facilitator: I come up with ideas, and critique the kids’ work.

Meanwhile, one of my kiddos has started sneaking a peak at what I’ve got so far (not a great thing since the story was originally a romance novel…) and continues to tell me I just have to put it on Wattpad so she can keep reading it! I thought she’d be miffed to find out the main character has powers, and instead she told me “I can’t wait to get to that part!”

It bolsters my ego a bit, and I’ve been considering the Wattpad suggestion. My concern is that if I do that, I won’t be able to publish the “normal” or “traditional” way, since most publishers want original work, work that’s never been published elsewhere before.

Decisions, decisions.

I did manage to make my word count, although I feel a little like I cheated because I included my notes and research that I did, but I spent hours on all that, and even typed up backstories for several of the characters, which I included. It was about 6K worth of notes, and my final total came up to (according to NaNo) 51,162.


So, I wouldn’t have won had I not “cheated,” or I would have been up until right at midnight (I posted the final count just before 10pm). If this was just a project that was just some exercise, I might feel bad, but I can see where it’s going, and I have a handful of scenes that are written for down the road. As in I didn’t write completely in order… something I couldn’t have done if I didn’t know where the story was heading.

I need to take a couple of days to step away from the story, but I don’t have any intentions of dropping it. So, today I’m writing (to keep the momentum going)… just not writing on my novel.

That’s mostly it for the last two weeks!

There was a bit of a kerfuffle last week with the Latest Fellow, but nothing worth taking time on. He just chose a day to hangout and then didn’t follow through.

So, I’m not waiting on him any longer. He’s been flipflopping between wanting to hang out and being just “too busy” to put me in his social calendar since September 6th… I hadn’t been wasting mental energy on him for a while (other than the occasional “what’s going on?” when he’d message out of the blue), but I’m done dealing with that sort of obnoxiousness.


As for more important things, I’d love some feedback from anyone who has actually submitted on Wattpad or who has at least spent some time actually reading the stuff posted there, so I can decide if this is a thing I really want to do.

Hope the last couple of weeks have been amazing for you! And I’ll see you around the Rewind!


About Elizabeth

First and foremost I am a teacher. What I teach is a blend of grammatical art, literary love, and a smidge of spiritual awareness. My blog tries to combine the best of all three over a cup of tea.

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