Monday, August 3, 2009

In It To Win It

Last week, I pondered on the worth of writing. So many of you shared your feelings with me, and that led to some personal thinkage time.

This is what I came up with: Are you in it to win it?

I rarely do anything I don't plan on succeeding (winning) in. That's a weird sentence. Anyway, since I love word math:

Elana = competitive

Elana = driven

Elana = willing to learn

Competitive + Driven + Willing to Learn = In It To Win It

So by the transitive property (yes, I majored in math in college, in fact, I have a math minor), Elana = In It To Win It

The reason I thought of all this is that my son was playing soccer last week. He's a great kid, really. But he did a lot of standing around. Now, those of you who've met me in real life wouldn't think that I could run. But I can. If there are dogs behind me.

But back when I was younger, I played competitive soccer. I was the defensive sweeper, which means I had to run. A lot. Maybe that's why I hate running now. Anyway, my son was doing some standing around, and we were talking about it at home.

And my DH said, "Mom's a hard worker. You wouldn't see her standing around on the field."

He was right. Because when I do something, I do it. In fact, when my husband and I were first engaged (man, today is personal story day! You like it. You know you do), we were playing basketball with his brothers. That's right. Me. With his three brothers. I'm sure you can imagine all kinds of scenarios for how this might end.

Me = competitve.

Me = playing with four grown men.

Me = cracked skull.

In fact, it was a piece of my eyebrow bone that was chipped off. I can still feel it under my skin. No joke. Not only that, but it was my fiancee that elbowed me in the face! And yes, I still married him.

And now I can't remember why I was telling you that story. Oh! When I do something, I do it. Including playing basketball to the death (if need be). Or soccer. Or crafting. Or teaching. Or driving fast.

When I do something, I do it.

So it is with this writing and publishing journey. I can't help it. It's in my genes. Yeah, I'm blaming the 'rents for this competitive streak that somehow keeps me going down in this winding road toward publication.

What about you? Are you in it to win it? Whatever "it" may be.


JStantonChandler said...

Hi Elana! First of all, thanks for stopping by my blog! I really appreciate it. I admire your tenacity in life and writing. I've been kicking myself in the pants lately because I have the unfortunate tendency of dragging my feet! But I realize that for me to actually make it in this industry of writing, I'm going to have to dig my heels in and play to win! No more standing around for me!


Amanda J. said...

Soccer, woot! I was a goalie. :) Nothing better than flying through the air to keep someone from scoring...hehe. Awesome stories, I'm glad we could have 'get to know Elana' time.

I wanna see that book on the shelf and then the next, oh how amazing that would be. It's not gonna happen for any of us unless we're determined and, personally, I can't wait to hold my book in my hands for the first time.

Scott said...

Competitive? Who me?? Goal this week - beat Elana's score in Bejeweled Blitz!

Yes, I'm in it to win it, though in probably a more laid back manner. What happens will happen when it happens - such is my current philosophy about this crazy writing adventure I immerse myself in on a daily basis.


Verification word = nutio . . . as in Scott is nutio to think Elana will be content to let him top her Bejeweled Blitz score.

Anonymous said...

I love the personal stories. I am competitive too...sometimes too competitive. And oh yeah, I am in it for the long haul. It's the only reason I would subject myself to this daily...right. Cause I love it and I am in it for the long haul!!!

Novice Writer Anonymous said...

At this point, I am not sure. I want to be published, I want to see my name in print, but those are side bonuses to actually just writing the stories that are filling my brain.

And as for the financial aspect, I really never expect to earn any substantial money from writing. Nor do I anticipate ever wanting to earn a substantial amount.

I write because I need to but the writing is what brings me satisfaction, not the idea of any sort of monetary gain.

Novice Writer Anonymous
Chronicles of a Novice Writer

Abby said...

I had to laugh as I was reading this, because it all sounds so familiar. Well, except for the competetive in sports thing. I used to try, but that scenario usually ends with everyone else laughing hysterically, so I try to avoid that.

But, yeah, I'm a very competitive person. When I was a kid, my favorite game was Monopoly, because I almost always won. Now, I love Phase 10, but that's probably because I win 90% of the time. Now, for some reason, no one wants to play it with me anymore. :( Guess they were in it to win it too.

Every time I start a project, I go in with the mindset I'm going to be better than anyone else at it. That's not usually the case, but without putting a competitive spin on things, I seriously don't think I would ever get anything done. Besides, how can I know I'm improving if I have nothing to measure myself against. Even if it is just myself I'm competing with.

Annie Louden said...

Once again, you have me LOLing at my desk. Esp. when you forgot why you were telling the basketball story.

Some days I'm in it to win it, some days I'm lazy or sad. Today is a Monday, so, I'm just focused on getting past the work day.

I think the current thing I'm trying to "win at" now is beating procrastination. I think that will open up many chances for success.

WindyA said...

Wow, you learn something new about your friends every day ... LOL!

I like to think I am "in it" to win, but sometimes my too practical streak gets the better of me. But there's nothing that says I can't take a very practical approach to working toward that win. I.E. not up and quitting my great day job that I really enjoy (most of the time!) to write full time, as much as I would love to!

Liza said...

Good for you! It's the marriage of craft and competition that will get any of us ahead. The more we strive and challenge ourselves the better we will get. I agree with Chronicles of a Novice Writer that the writing has to be what gives us joy because, for the most part, it's the smallest fraction of a percentage of writers who actually earn money doing it. Personally, I'd simply like to grow my writing skills to the point that I have a dedicated audience.

Mandy said...

I like this question Elana! I AM in it to win it. How do I know? I have a tendency to fizzle out on projects. I've made lotions and soaps, jewelry, decorative signs, etc, etc, etc. I usually quit after the novelty wears off. But with writing--I just can't stop. I've even tried, and I can't. That's how I KNOW this is what I'm supposed to be doing!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Definitely. Can't wait to see what "it" is.

Paul West said...

Hi Elana,

Yes, I've been in it for over 20 years (still working on the same novel). I guess you could say I'm in it to WIN! I ain't giving up any time soon.

Icy Roses said...

You have a MATH minor? Wow, that is so intense. I applaud you.

I AM IN IT TO WIN IT. Caps somehow make it seem more legit.

Katie Ganshert said...

Hi Elana! I'm also very competitive. And I'm also in it to win being published. I'm dedicated to this journey and to seeing my books on a book shelf someday. :)

~Jamie said...

yeah, yeah I think I am.

I've had my moments of self doubt... but so far I've moved past and kept busting my butt!

Calista Taylor said...

Hi, Elana! I'm actually not very competitive at all. I'm just way too mellow (wait... where's that pulse? Oh, there it is.). HOWEVER, I do have a teensy bit of a compulsive streak, so when I find something I want to do, it's all I want to do, and writing is definately one of those things. I write from 7 am to 1 am, with just enough breaks in between to keep the kids entertained, and cook. ;) Okay, maybe there's a little more to my day, but if I have a free minute, I write.

Lazy Writer said...

I'm definitely in it to win it!

Rebecca Knight said...

Your basketball story made me laugh! My pastor once gave me a fat lip because I insisted on playing "jungle rules" (full tackle) basketball with him. Woot!

I know for sure I'm in it to win it :). I'm one competitive lady, and when I put my mind to something truly important, not succeeding just isn't an option. I will endure until my goal is met, no matter how long it takes, no matter how hard it is, and no matter how many fat lips I get.

Because it's worth it :).

I think the only thing separating the legions of people with talent from those few who are published is determination.

Tess said...

Heck yes! I'd hate to look back on my life and wonder 'if only...'

that would be lousy. so, I'll stick to till it happens. please, lord, let it happen :)

ElanaJ said...

Wow, you guys. I'm so glad so many of you enjoyed the basketball story. Even after all these years, it still gets some laughs.

Scott, you are so going to beat me this week. I'm not feeling Bejeweled.

Novice Writer, I'm with you. I don't think I'll be like rich and famous, but I'd like to see my name on a book. A real one.

Abby, ooh, the competitive spin. I like that.

Windy, you've barely scratched the surface, baby. *wink*

Mandy, man, we're twins. I do the same thing. Knitting (yes, I knitted once), card-making, now writing. I love it! It's all about the desire to create.

Paul! Don't give up!

Icy Roses, yes, I R smart. Or I used to be. ;)

Love all the comments--you guys are great!

Lisa and Laura said...

Type A all the way, baby! I don't like failing, ever. But hey at least as writers we get to document all of our little failures on blogs and laugh about them!

ajgallion said...

When I'm in it to win it - there's no stopping me. Lately I've only been in it to see if there is a winning possibility. Thanks for the inspiration.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I love the rush of a win, so, yeah, I'm competitive. But I think I've come to realize that personal best is what I want. There are so many incredibly talented people in the world. I want to tell a great story and have it published and I wish the same for every other hard-working writer.

Melanie Avila said...

Elana, you sound just like me. :) I'm very competitive and grew up playing with the boys. I have two chipped elbows to show for my efforts (roller hockey + me + much larger man + concrete). Just yesterday I was telling my husband about playing pickup basketball with guys and how I always got hurt because I refuse to back down.

I think I need to remember that competitiveness with my writing. Thanks. :)

Kat Harris said...

Bring it.

That's all I got to say.

(Well, that and . . .you're a math person, too? That's just not right. :-)

L.T. Elliot said...

I'm in it because I can't be out of it. Whether or win or not, I'll do it. But as for my goals...yeah, I'm in it to win it. =]

Sarah said...

I'm usually not super competitive. I mean, in real life. In my head, I'm all "ooh, that person is going down!" and "Bring it on!" but that's me just trying to keep up pretenses. (With myself.)

I'm the kid that wakes up on the soccer field and someone kicks the ball to them and they're all groggy and the grass is wet and gross and they just want to go back to bed, but somehow, before the end of the game, they fall in love with the sport.

OK, none of that made sense. But I do agree with personal bests and becoming your own competition.

Suzanne said...

Now more than ever. AMAZING what rejection can do to your GAME! It IS on baby!

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

LOL to the basketball story! My husband still tells a similar story how when we were first dating and playing basketball with some friends, I was upset about my team being a bit behind and threw the ball to him so hard it bent a few of his fingers back. *pfftt* I say it's his fault for expecting me to play like a girl.

I think writing might be more fun for me if I wasn't always so focused on the winning, but yeah, I am in it to win it too:)

Danyelle said...

You are so made of win, Elana!

I'm in it to win. Were there any other options? O:)

Anna C. Morrison said...

Why even try if you don't want to win? Love the basketball story! My son does a lot of standing around, too. It drives me nuts.

Ryan said...

This post reminds me of a comment I heard about Stephen King in the documentary Shining in the Dark (Youtube it, is very informative). The guy talking about Steve said that he was different from the other college students because he not only aspired to be a writer, he went ahead an did it. And as a wise green midget once said: Do or do not, there is no try. That's the way I look at writing. I don't aspire to be a writer, I just do it. Publication is just one step in the journey, so yeah, I am in it to win it.

Hilabeans said...

OK, Elana. We really are twins.

Hilary = In it to win it too, except no chocolate, please.

The publishing game waits to be won by the few, the proud... wait, wrong slogan. Yeah. So, those that are "in it to win it" will conquer. Eventually.

Love this post!

disorderly said...

Elana, I had to laugh at this. You SO deserve to be a character in someone's novel. ;-)

I ended up with a chipped bone from soccer. I kicked the ball, the opposing player kicked me on the front of the leg, and there you have my entire soccer career in a nutshell. (I think there were too many people in it to win it on that field that day. :-D ) I ended up with an enormous mid-calf lump for months. What a fashion statement THAT was, especially in knee socks! LOL

Solvang Sherrie said...

Oh, yeah!

I was on the boys softball team when I was younger because they didn't have girls teams back then. I've always been very competitive and I'm willing to work. In it to win it is good, although like you, I'll probably get hurt in the process!

Chalmers said...

I appreciate your constructive reminders to us all to be polite and comment. I have truly enjoyed your thoughtful approach to each topic I have read so far. Thanks for your hard work!
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