This is a Test…

Multiple Choice? Extended Response? Doesn’t matter
Photo by Jessica Lewis on

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I know everyone’s said it’s been a hard year, but…it’s been a hard year. And to explain where I’m at right now, let me back up a little bit.

When I was a student, I was probably the kind of student most of my friends hated. I didn’t have to try hard to get good grades. I never took anything home in high school — if it wasn’t done in study hall, it was done in another class (if at all). And when test day came, I was the only kid in the room who was excited. Well, that’s not totally true: In Senior Social Studies, my best buddy and I would compete for best grade in the class, which usually came down to the decimal point. Anyway, most kids hated (still hate) tests. I know that just as well as the person giving them out now. When I was the one seated in the desk, it was my chance to show off what I knew, or in some cases, pretend I knew. Dazzle them with wit, etc.

When shutdowns came to my town in mid-March, I was in the busiest season of my year: research papers and testing. And yet, I was also in the middle of rewriting my draft from last year’s NaNoWriMo. Despite all of those factors, I decided to sign up for Camp NaNo in April, when the proverbial poo was well and truly into the fan. It was my test. I was going to pass it with flying colors. I’d like to think that’s a huge reason I managed to keep my head in the spring: no matter what news came across during the day, I still had my words to get in every night.

Months have since passed. I finished my draft, sent it off for edits, and received it back. I passed that test, but for once, vastly underestimated the one coming next. In August, the writing conference I planned to attend, like all others, was converted to virtual instead. Not dealbreaking, but after I’d looked forward for nearly a year to travel to Toronto–a city I’d never been to–it was a little deflating. Soon after, school picked right back up, and so did the constant feeling of waiting for the next shoe to drop. I’ve stayed afloat, but barely. Thus, the next test became finding time to begin my revisions. Up to this point, I’ve failed that test. I don’t do it often, but it’s gobbled me up this summer and fall. As above, this would be the point in the past couple of years where I’d use NaNo as a way to push myself forward again. To test myself. However, after putting a great deal of thought into it over the month of October, I decided to take this NaNo off. It pains me, as I’ve come to enjoy being in the trenches with everyone as we try to hit our goals together. But this time, I’ve elected to take time for myself and opt for a different pace. NaNo will be there next year, and hopefully the world won’t be on (literal) fire. Meanwhile, if I’m going to make myself successful, I’d rather take one loss and learn from it instead of stacking another loss in November on top of it. I knew this October I wouldn’t be well-prepared to tackle NaNo; thus, I’d be setting myself up to fail.

If you, like me, are swimming right now, it’s okay to be here. In my case, I know I won’t be down forever. I’m going to get a plan together, ease back into what needs done, and soon, I’ll be that much closer to publishing my first novel. It WILL happen. I WILL pass that test.

Take care until next time.

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