Monday, November 01, 2010
First Day Jitters
I write this BEFORE my big day ... my very first day of my new dayjob, after I've been out of a dayjob since August. I cannot tell a lie: I'm a puddle of nervous jelly.
Firsts are always hard for me. I always dreaded the first day of school, the first day on a job, the first time I had to do anything new by myself. Over the years, I've made a conscious effort to turn that negative energy into something more positive. Sometimes it works and sometimes, well, it doesn't.
Authors have a lot of firsts, just like anybody else. I still remember the weeks following my first sale -- I was a complete noodly wreck when it came to how I should approach something as simple as a talk with my editor. Should I call her? Should I email her? If I called her, was first thing in the morning better, or should I wait until after lunch?
No worries -- my editor turned out to be a complete doll who exchanged emails and jokes and was just the absolute dream editor a newbie writer could have ever wanted. I've been really blessed that both the editors I've worked under were open to me calling them up and saying, "Uh, dumb question, buuuut ..."
Then of course came a whole series of firsts: my first book on the shelves, my first book signing, my first book club talk, my first you-name-it. I got myself through those "firsts" by telling myself it wouldn't all be fresh and new the next time, that I would know what the heck I was doing.
Errrr ... not true. Everything changes. And everything stays the same. That feeling of nervous jelly -- the idea that you are a complete and total fraud and that if your editor/publisher/readers ever take a good look at you, they'll figure it out? Well, it's a friend for life -- or maybe I should better classify it as a long-lost relative that attaches itself to you and won't shake loose. It's you -- but not you, if you know what I mean.
The one thing that I've learned over the years is that "firsts" of anything are just plain nerve-wracking. Knowing that, I give myself lots of prep time, so I won't do what I did on my first day of teaching 20 ga-jillion years ago -- leave the house without brushing my teeth. Yep. I forgot to brush my teeth. Lucky for me, it was just pre-planning, so the only people I subjected to Gorilla Breath (freshened with Doublemint gum bought in a hurry at a convenience store) were my fellow teachers.
I'm hoping that my first day, which I'm experiencing as you read this, turns out okay. And I'm SURE hoping that I remembered to brush my chompers.