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AND ... relax

Teen Daughter had her driving test today.

She was understandably nervous, not least because it's been cancelled twice already, due to bad weather, and she has to keep psyching herself up. Then her instructor decided to give up teaching at the eleventh hour, and passed her over to someone she'd never met before, with a car she's never driven.

It brought back horrible memories of my first test. I say first because it took me, ahem, four go's to pass. I was quite confident the first time, not really knowing what to expect, and thought I'd done well but I failed. They're not allowed to tell you why, at least they weren't back then, so after that nerves got the better of me. On my second test I was so determined to pass my mind went completely blank and I failed coming out of the test centre, which was unfortunately situated on a hill. On my third test I couldn't stop shaking and accidentally accelerated out of a junction, instead of braking, and narrowly missed getting hit by a lorry. The examiner looked a bit faint.

The fourth time I was eight months pregnant with the twins, and could barely squeeze behind the wheel. The examiner, a steely-eyed woman with a look of the traffic warden about her, looked at me and hissed, "Don't think you'll get preferential treatment just because you're pregnant." Charming, I thought, convinced I'd already failed. I must have relaxed at that point. I even remember thinking what a lovely day it was. Blue sky, etc.

Naturally I passed, and I was thinking about this today while my baby girl was being put through her paces.

It's been a similar tale with the writing (there had to be a link somewhere!) First Ever Novel was written quickly and confidently and sent out straight away. Nicely rejected, but rejected all the same. I became nervous. Started trying too hard, and thinking all the time about getting published, instead of just writing.

So maybe it's time to relax and enjoy the journey again, and perhaps the rest will take care of itself.

At least I'm not likely to be hit by a lorry. Unless I'm writing by the side of the road. And a learner driver comes careering round the bend ...

Sadly, she didn't pass. I baked her a chocolate cake just in case and I think she's feeling better about it now. I reckon she'll do it next time.


Honeysuckle said…
Aw, commiserations. All the best people fail at least once.
Queenie said…
What Honeysuckle said. It took me four goes as well. Yep, it's the journey that counts.
Suzanne said…
Cake is a great consolation for any upset - especially if it's chocolate cake.

Hugs to your daughter from someone who also failed her first test.
Swerdnic said…
Aw, tell her not to get nervous now next time. my brother took a few attempts. It's the luck of the draw I think. Some really sensible, good drivers fail first time. yet my friend is the worst driver I know and she passed first time. mental.
Bet the chocolate cake was lush!
I made the most incredible mistakes on my first and onloy driving test. It was a hash from start to finish but the old exmainer, who looked like benny hill with his wee round specs and dirty old flasher's mac, passed me! He must have thought he was on a promise because I was dangerous!

Chin up to your baby girl - she could have been failed because it was the wrong time of the day, he's achived his quota allowed or his wife had just left him! Who knws eh?
HelenMHunt said…
Driving tests are just the worse thing ever. I also took four attempts but got there in the end.
Cait O'Connor said…
The best drivers fail firt time. Nerves have a lot to answer for.
Tam said…
Awww. Never mind, she'll get there :-)
Jan Jones said…
It took me four tests too. Or maybe five. I'm sure it wasn't six.
Anna said…
chocolate is a good soothing balm... next time for sure!

as for Mum... yeah, it needs to come as it does. somewhat organically, without the compost heap, I reckon...

I wonder if Sainsburys carries that, organic writing... :)))
Amanda said…
Awh, I'm sure your chocolate cake did the trick!

I failed first time. I went through a red light! Your not supposed to do that, apparently! x
liz fenwick said…
Hugs for your daughter and bravo for you - enjoy the journey. I'll take that away with me today. Thanks :-)
Bernadette said…
I also took three goes to pass. I didn't really need them to tell me what I'd done wrong. I don't think reversing round a corner is supposed to end up with the car in someone's front garden....

Commiserations to daughter.

And you are so right about the writing. Recently I've spent a lot of time letting other people's comments on my work stop me writing anything at all. Whatever comes into my mind is a cliche/a worn theme/ too twee/ too strong/predictable etc etc etc. A good idea to go back to writing for the fun of it and see what happens. It can always be fiddled with afterwards!
Dumdad said…
Better luck next time.
Henry the Dog said…
Chocolate cake? Yummy. Perhaps she'll fail on purpose next time:)
L-Plate Author said…
Four seems to be the lucky number. But unlike you I couldn't drive for the first three! That plus the nerves.

I finally passed in my own car, a fiesta supersport (oh the nostalgia that has just brought back) that the long legged instructor had to look behind to ensure it was safe to do an emergency stop. x
Mickmouse said…
Chocolate Cake is always the best medicine for disappointment. I failed first time too, but well done her for going for it despite all the setbacks etc.

I know I will be more nervous than my kids when it comes to their turn (got at least ten years to wait though)
Pat Posner said…
I was so bad I didn't even get as far as a fourth lesson - let alone a test. Hugs to your dd.

And I so agree about relaxing enough to enjoy the writing journey.

Chicklit Addict said…
Bless her - it feels like the end of the world at the time, but rest assured, the % of people who pass first time is tiny.
I failed my first test, so passing second-time felt fabulous. Chocolate is a healer of all emotional ailments - and that comes with a psychologist's endorsement!
Lily Sheehan said…
That a nice analogy, I like that. I passed on my third go and I remember sitting in the waiting room with all the other students and instructors waiting to be called and I overheard an instructor tell his student 'just enjoy the car ride, you're in charge'. I took that on board and I passed.
Good luck to your daughter for next tim.
Award for you at mine btw (if you have room)
Lily Sheehan said…
*time (my spelling tonight is awful)
Debs said…
Oh poor her, though I'm sure the cake helped cheer her up. It would certainly work with me.

R believes that they fail people first time in order to make more money for the driving department (or whatever it's called).

J is taking lessons and has passed his theory, but still has to take his driving test. I'm dreading it.
Lorna F said…
Commiserations to your daughter - driving tests are horrible horrible things. My elder son will turn 17 in a couple of weeks, so no doubt all this lies ahead for us too. Your comparison with writing is spot on: I know myself how the more I've learnt about the writing industry, the more self-conscious I've become as a writer. In some ways that's a good thing - but the downside is that you are inhibited by excessive awareness and self-judgmentalism. I'm trying to get away from that and liberate my creativity, but it is hard. x
KAREN said…
Well I'm glad to see I wasn't the only one to fail first time, and that we're all in agreement about the healing properties of chocolate cake :o))
Fionnuala said…
I failed when I was eight months pregnant with my first daughter! Then she took four tries to pass herself many years later. I think its made her a batter driver though but it did show me how she lets nerves get to her. Wonder where she gets that from?! Fx

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