by Terri Wagner
Starting a new job is a nightmare of wet noodle proportions. So is starting a new book. And for that matter starting a new life. We have had several baptisms in our small branch which is like starting a whole new life. Why does it bring such a huge emotional response?
Nerves get shot, things get forgotten, important things get lost, unimportant things become huge...my niece calls this microfocusing. I call it wet noodle. You get up, you get down, you get worn out. First there's the excitement. I got the job!!!! I found my plot!!!! I started that new diet!!! I succeeded!!!! Look at me, I'm doing great.
Then comes the moment. You walk in to the new job, first day; you open the document, and write the first scene; you put on tight clothes, and they aren't tight anymore. Life feels surreal.
Two or three days into it, you are still on a high. Grateful relief flooding through you. Two, three weeks into the new job, and you are starting to fit in, feel somewhat knowledgeable, find a lunch buddy, figure out the lunch system, learn the important rules, find a rhythm. Same for writing. You hit a stride, words fly on the page as fast as you can type (or write), the characters come together, conversations make sense. The new diet doesn't leave you starving, in fact, you like it. The clothes are getting looser.
Then somehow it all flattens out. In spite of your best intentions, you start to realize this isn't your dream job, or not going to turn out to be that dream job. You say something you probably shouldn't have, you have an encounter with an employee you don't know how to handle, your boss becomes distant and possibly threatening. The words stop. The characters seem mundane. You can't think where to go next. The diet becomes limiting, confining, hard. The clothes don't get looser.
You wet noodle. The rush of emotion and excitement fade. It all becomes routine. You dread getting up to go to work or in the very least it just seems another day another dollar. The words revert to "said," "saw," "was," "were." Some people even begin the old habits of procrastination, whining, eating too much candy or just too much of all the "forbidden" foods. The bigger clothes come back to the front of the closet.
Why? Are we hard wired to wet noodle? Can we stop the downward slide? Why can't we stay laser focused? Centuries of wisdom indicates that the turtle wins because the rabbit stops running, distracts himself from the goal, wet noodles out. The turtle stays microfocused and wins the race.
How do you survive the wet noodle? That's my new quest...find the way to keep the excitement as positive as when I started so I win the race. How do you handle the wet noodle?