General

Be the Noodle

What in the hell does that mean?

Be the NoodleWhen I decided that I didn’t want to practice nursing anymore and instead pursue my dream as a writer, I also decided that I must become the noodle. I know you must be thinking what in the world does that mean but stay with me for a second. I was at home and pulled out a package ramen noodles when suddenly I was hit with a thought: writers are like noodles.

How do you figure?

Ramen noodles come in this tiny package but when you tear open the package and dump them into the boiling water, the noodles expand. I think writers are like that.

Why? And how?

Where I live, the writing community seems practically non-existent. There are no advertised groups saying, “Hey, are you a writer? Come to our group!” Even on places like meetup.com there aren’t very many active groups for my area.

I think it’s necessary for writers to be able to communicate and connect with each other. We need that support that only someone in the same field could truly understand. We need the encouragement that writing communities can provide. So even though the writing community is almost invisible in my area, having access to the internet puts me in contact with so many others who share my same goal.

In reality, the writing community is large and goes beyond my small town. It’s expansive, global, and diverse. Just because it may seem like I can’t find other like-minded individuals in town doesn’t mean they’re not out there. That support is there on the internet.

Any other qualities of noodles you care to share?

Ramen noodles are kind of hard before you boil them. I think of writers in the same way. After having your work rejected a few times, we have to build up this hard shell. When someone tells you that your pride and joy just isn’t any good, it’s like someone taking a knife and cutting straight into your soul. It hurts. It hurts terribly. But we can’t let that stop us. We pull up our britches and try again.

Noodles are soft after you cook them though.

True.

After about 50 rejections, you’ll find at least one publisher or blog manager out there that will see something of value in your work. And when we stumble across that person, we become all soft (like noodles) and drunk off excitement. We fly straight to cloud nine and start bursting with creativity. After all that hard work, after all that dedication, we finally got our foot in the door. The world stops looking so gray!

What else can you relate to noodles?

Noodles, after being cooked, are pretty flexible too. As writers, we must be flexible too. We have to accept edits to our work. We may have to re-write the best work we’ve ever written. There are clients who won’t be satisfied no matter how brilliantly we write their copy.

Also, trends and markets will change. Writers must stay up-to-date as well to be effective. One example of this would be the power of social media. I met someone working on being a successful music producer but she hates social media. After a recent conversation, she finally admitted that she’s more than likely going to sign up for a Twitter account because she sees how helpful it is in getting her work noticed.

I know the feeling of wanting to stay true to who are you. I know how it feels to not want to compromise on your work. But at the end of the day, writing is a business and we must cater to the mainstream crowds if the goal is to actually make a living. This is why it is imperative for all successful writers to be flexible.

Seriously, you and these noodles… are there any downsides to noodles?

Now, as good as noodles are, there are indeed some down sides to it. For example, noodles are high in sodium content. Too much sodium is bad for us.

Just like the high sodium content in noodles, many writers have a high amount of negative self-talk going on inside their heads (me included). Many of us never take that first step because we’re always full of self-doubt. What if my work isn’t good enough? What if I missed some errors? What if I get rejected? Can I really survive on just my writing? How will the bills get paid?

These are very valid questions but in order to be successful we need to eliminate the negative self talk. Change the negativity around into something positive. What if they really like my work? I’ve edited my work several times and so I’m sure it’s mostly error free. I can make living on writing. My bills will get paid.

If, as a writer, you don’t first believe in yourself then who else will?

And how does all that help me?

I know it’s a weird analogy but it works for me. I try to remind myself every day to be the noodle. If I reach out to others in my field, build up that hardness to handle the inevitable rejection, remain flexible and on top of trends, and keep out the negative self-talk, then my success as a writer is limitless. I want every aspiring writer to know that the only limits we have are the ones that we place on ourselves. Don’t just dream about what your life could be – start making it happen.

And whenever you start to feel you aren’t good enough, just remind yourself to be the noodle.

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