Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Staying True

Okay, so I don't know why I've been thinking about this now, as school is just starting. It's more of a school-is-ending thing. But you know how in junior high and high school you sign yearbooks at the end of the year? And you get all the same siggies, and they all say "Stay cool. Have a great summer."

Yeah, that's what I've been thinking about.

My book is astronomically far from actually being a book. At the same time, it's coming so fast fast fast I can't even take a moment to breathe. And I've been thinking about how I can "stay cool" so to speak.


**Disclaimer: I in no way, shape, or form think I'm cool. In fact, I've asked several people to nominate me for "What Not To Wear." Still hasn't happened.

I'm thinking about how to stay myself on the blog. In my life. (I actually have a real life with a 3-dimensional body and everything. Believe it.) Every experience we have in our lives changes us. I know this. You know this. So there's no way I'll ever be the person I was 5 years ago, in the land of Before.

But that doesn't mean that the person from Before can't be the person in After. Does it?

I don't anticipate changing much (except maybe my hair, but if you've been around here for very long, you know the chameleon-esque of that). I'll still be waiting, just like you. I'll still experience disappointments, just like you. I'll still get good news, just like you.

Is that how one "stays cool?" Just by being themselves? Relating to others? What do you guys think? And will you sign my yearbook??


NOTE: In case you were wondering, Krista won the signed copy of Paranormalcy. Congrats, Krista!!

74 comments:

Laura Pauling said...

The day I stop being myself - I hope someone lets me know! :)

Andrea Mack said...

In school, I always thought "coolness" was something you just had. Now that I've grown up, I think a lot of it is just having the confidence to be yourself. I'm sure it doesn't hurt to have good people skills, either. Here's my "yearbook" message: Your blog is always interesting. Keep writing!!!

Christine Danek said...

After 36 years, I just found myself so I hope I don't change now. Please slap me if I do. I think if you stay true to yourself and always remember where you came from and who your friends are, you will be good.
Make sure you can relate to others is another biggy. i've had friends who got all "showy' when their salary started to increase. I don't talk to them much.
Anywho, I think you will always remain true to yourself, your're too sweet.
Yes, I will sign your yearbook. :)

Natalie Aguirre said...

I can't imagine that you'll change that much. You're still the same person. Some of the outer trappings could change, like quitting your job, being busier because you have two jobs, etc. But your voice and who you are as a person will be basically the same. Though yeah, we all change from our major experiences, both good and bad, over time.

salarsenッ said...

I believe being yourself is a never-ending story. Hmm...yeah, chew on that for a minute. And I'd love to sign your yearbook. *reaching me arms out, my book teetering on my fingertips for you to sign* grins.

Em-Musing said...

I find when I write from my head, people comment. When I write from my heart, no one comments/cares. Hmm? I'll sign yours if you sign mine. :)

Christine Fonseca said...

I thin if you stay true to who you are on the inside, you'll still be you. And dude...you KNOW I will let you know if things change in a bad way...that's what friends are for, right???

Renae said...

Of course I will sign your yearbook! And I absolutely think that the key to staying cool is being yourself and not worrying about what others think of you.

And for the record, you are cool Elana!

Candyland said...

Aww E, you ARE cool. And yes, being yourself and genuine and honest and vulnerable are a part of it. But mostly it's about reaching out to others, which you do every single day.
xoxo

Jen said...

Congrats to the winner :)

As for being cool, E, you're a rockstar!! In fact I think you are ONE of THEE coolest bloggers on this here blog world. You have taught & inspired me to make my blog a better blog.

I think to be cool is to believe in one's self. To understand the path that was chosen for you and to follow it and do the best you can, with the up's and down's and merry-go-rounds...

Whoops I got caught of guard and thought rhyming sounded like fun. I think I might be losing it... but at least I'm on the blog of coolness!

lynnrush said...

Totally. I'll sign your yearbook. :-) It's all good. Change is normal. Just be you, that's all you can be. Do that and you can't lose.

Love your transparency, Elana.

Katie said...

Oh my gosh, I so love you! This post was awesome. I have often wondered the same thing and honestly, I think awareness is the start. But as far as changing...I think we need to remain more "others-focused" and not get too caught up in ourselves to really "stay cool."

In the world of published authors, the ones that seem to get a bad rep are the ones who are obsessed with themselves. And that's not you. YOU just took the time to help ME with my outline :) Not to mention organized writeoncon and other such fun events.

Rock on E. You're the coolest!

Michelle McLean said...

I think, once you reach a certain level of success, it can be hard to "stay yourself." I always hear actors (and other famous people) say that the people they consider true friends are the ones that knew them before they got famous. Because those are the people they know really love them for THEM, not for "who they are." If that makes any sense.

I know some people change, and not for the better, when they experience success. But I think sometimes the problem is more that the people around them change. You'll start getting people who only want to associate with you because of your success, who don't know or care who the real you is.

I think having people around you who have known you for years, who know and love the real you, not the successful persona that the rest of the world sees, helps keep you grounded and that will enable you to maintain your "youness" Which in your case = coolness LOL

Tamika: said...

I would love to sign your yearbook:) I think everyday that remain true to your values and friendships and look for ways to grow you are totally cool!

Connie said...

I think the answer is humility. Remembering that everything we've been given is a gift.

I have a friend who has made a very successful career writing YA over decades. And she's amazingly humble about her success. If I ever have even a modicum of her success, I hope to have that kind of humility.

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

I think, whatever happens,you'll still be cool. :)

Here's my yearbook signing: Be yourself. You rock!

Jemi Fraser said...

Regardless of how we grow, we remain ourselves. Nothing to worry about Elana!

And I live in constant fear Stacy & Clinton are going to show up at my school looking for me. :)

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

I think writing a book is cool and to have it published rocks. So I guess that makes you rocking cool lol!

As long as you know where your roots are and what it took to grow you're good.

And yes I'll sign your yearbook if I can put smiley's everywhere! :)

Erica Mitchell-Spickard said...

*signing yearbook*
I definatley believe that although change happens with or without resistance the Before is most definately living in the After. Sometimes I think we lose sight of that person who was in the before and at times long for that person to take the reigns again or help out the Now person, or in some cases struggle to find out who the After person is.
I think I prefer (no matter the circumstance) that I just be that Now person.
*ends signing with "stay cool"*

Bish Denham said...

I think being approachable has a lot to do with who you are and what makes you so cool. (story coming...)I spent a three day week-end at a writing retreat with 12 children's writers. Our work-shop leader was...Jane Yolen. Me...learning at the feet of the master. But she was so approachable and easy to talk to, humorous and fun. She was tough on us when she needed to be, but mostly she was just plain nice.

I think you have all though qualities too.

Relax. You'll do and be just fine.

Melissa said...

Elana, you're one of the coolest people I've "met" since I started blogging. Your posts are ALWAYS helpful, and I'm amazed that you take the time to respond to every comment when you get so many each day. So I guess staying cool means just being yourself. Even though we're always changing as we live, our core values stay the same. And you're a genuinely nice person who wants to help other people. You ROCK! I'd be happy to sign your yearbook:)

Krista said...

Thank you, Elana! Can't wait to get Paranormalcy!
In the meantime, I look at authors like you and know staying true works. There's no reason we can't bring our 'before' selves along for the ride as we figure out who our 'new' selves are. After all, it was our old selves who got us where we are. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Well, that sounds like I think nothing is wrong with me and THAT is a tad off, but you know what I mean.
In true yearbook fashion, I'll say, "Stay your sweet self!"

Becky said...

I don't believe people's characters change. I think they get covered up.
We all go through stages, depending on what happens to us. Sometimes we're more serious sometimes less. Sometimes we're majorly egotistical other times we get crushed. Sometimes we're more energetic than others, more creative etc.
Our experiences may change our behaviour or the way we react to situations but essentially we always are the same person.

http://studentat30.blogspot.com

Brenda Drake said...

I like to think about what my Grandpa Joe (think Italian Santa Claus) always said. Worry more about giving than what you'll receive and your rewards will be greater. When he died they had to find a place big enough to hold everyone who came out to pay their last respects. I listened to story after story about how he helped when needed.

Elana, you're like that. You give to all of us out here in the virtual world and I bet you do the same in your personal life. So I'd sign any yearbook you put in front of me and I hope your rewards are great! :D (honestly, I'm not brown nosing--heehee)

Jen Chandler said...

I think that's the best advice for staying cool that I've ever heard. "Be Yourself". I'm learning that one now, have been for years. You're right. As long as we can stay ourselves, and not let others infiltrate our grey matter (or what matters), everything else will slide into perspective.

Good luck with the new story!
Jen

Patti said...

I'd totally sign your yearbook and I think that you'll change just because time does that. It doesn't necessarily mean that you won't still be staying cool. In fact, you'll probably just be cool.

Pam Torres said...

Roses are Red,
Violets are blue,
I don't care what you say,
I think you are coo'. (tacky)

Well anyway, you bring up an interesting point. One that I have often wondered about and not sure I have figured it out. If you were to compare my life 20 years ago to now you may not recognize me. That is how different my life is. Anyone who has survived an abusive relationship and come out at the other end, should know what I'm talking about. There are things I miss about the old me and I am working to reincorporated them into the new me, (in a healthy way). I will never see the world in the same way. Just as others have commented, there is an essence, soul, whatever that is at the core and that never changes. If it was cool then, it'll be cool now.

Stephanie McGee said...

The best way to be is yourself. Unless you're an amazing actress, the real you is going to shine through and you should let it.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Yes! Stay you by being your quirky, unpredictable, wise, hilarious, tons-of-fun self! I love how "real" you are. You are practical and open and tell-it-like-it-is genuine. When you say something, I know you mean it. That is powerful stuff, Elana, and a big part of why we all adore you. :-)

Nathalie said...

OMG, I thought I was waaay cool in high school. I mean, no one else could rock a pair of Hammer pants and neon green t-shirt like I could. Cool, to teenagers, is the accepted norm, which changes with the wind. My son tells me that what was cool last month is 'whacked' now. So, go with your gut, be yourself and please, for the love of God, don't tell anyone I'm NOT cool.

Julie said...

I've changed tremendously in the past couple years and I think staying true changes with our changes, but always remains the calmest version of self. I work to stay true (and not get swept away with the ups and downs of the journey) by making sure I take time to connect with the calmest self. Just a few minutes a day to remember what is important: happiness. And that happiness doesn't depend on anything going my way or leaving me behind. It is true no matter what happens.

And yes, I'd sign your yearbook and put hearts and a squiggly cloud shape around my message. :)

lbdiamond said...

Change is scary and inevitable. My goal now is practicing how to learn from change and how to find the positive in the negative. Um, it doesn't always work (what does?), but I keep trying. ;D

KarenG said...

I've often wondered about this. Take JK Rowling and Stephanie Meyer. How could they have predicted their huge success? Certain things would HAVE to change. Like maybe not putting yourself out there quite as much as us anonymous nobodies do. I mean if you were SM, would you want to blog and get comments? Many of which would be nasty, jealous people like myself who hate her books? Just kidding, haha, I don't hate her books.

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

Dude--I know what you mean. One of the reasons I left Hollywood was cause I saw what fame did to people. It's like, crazy how much it can change you--if you let it.

But I thought long and hard about it before I started pursuing publication, and I realized that if I clung to the things that kept me real: my husband, my family, my knowledge that I am not the most important person on the planet--or even close--and that even if I find a tiny bit of success or acclaim it doesn't actually make me better than anyone else, then I'd be okay.

That's the reality check. Remembering that sure, you get to have a cool job and do some cool things and love what you do. But at the end of the day it's just a job. It doesn't and shouldn't define you. That's how you stay grounded.

Well...that, and I have a ton of people who are on orders to smack me if I start to reek of conceit. :)

Solvang Sherrie said...

I was thinking about this today because there are so many different pieces of us that make up the whole person and some parts are cool and some parts are just lame, but they're still part of the whole package of who we are. And we're going to grow and change and some people stay for the ride and others drift away (like most of the people who signed that yearbook!) and your definition of what's cool will change, too. So I guess it isn't so much staying cool as it is staying you. Does that make sense?

Lynn Colt said...

I always think the coolest people are the ones who don't know they're cool, just like the hottest guys are the ones who don't know they're hot :)

My fave ridiculous yearbook signage was:

2 cool
+2 be
-------
4 gotten

WindyA said...

I think something to remember is that, 5 years or 5 days, who we are changes and we can only be the best us we can be with what we've got. There are so many versions of our befores and afters, that all you can do is be YOU - in whatever form that may be. But it's accepting that YOU is the hardest part of all.

Hmm, wondering if any of that makes sense. Or if I'm just waxing philosophic. Lol!

Tere Kirkland said...

Heh, I actually got "cool" in high school right about when I stopped caring what the "cool" kids thought. So yeah, I think being true to yourself makes you a lot more confident, which goes hand in hand with cool.

Plus kids can sniff out a phony a mile away.

Have a great summer! I'll never forget you.

Theresa Milstein said...

Good question. It's one I don't think about much.

I'm so different from that awkward high school girl, but the heart of me is the same. With my writing and my blog, I attempt to be honest, even when it makes me uncomfortable, even if my soul is out for display. But I also make sure to protect others in my life, so it's a balance. Be true and be respectful.

It would be easy to project a different, maybe even a cool me onto my blog. But it would be a lie.

Susan R. Mills said...

You are so totally cool! You should never think otherwise. Being yourself is always the way to go.

Tahereh said...

you are far too spectacular a human being to have anything to worry about. don't worry -- we'll never leave you alone at lunch :D

ALSO!
SAVE ME THREE PAGES IN YOUR YEARKBOOK.

hehe

Tahereh said...

also i'm not sure what a YEARKBOOK is, but i think i meant YEARBOOK.

er.

yeah.

RaShelle said...

You'll always be cool. Like you said, we all change. It's the way life is. No worries. And lots of excitement for your book. It's coming. Yay=D

L.T. Elliot said...

I have no worries about you staying cool. You're too cool for that. ;P

Seriously, you're you--and that's why I love ya.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I only know how to be me. Anything else would require effort.

T. Anne said...

Hey, I think your cool! And I like how we KIT. Did you have a killer summer? Ok I couldn't resist. My yearbook signing days are over for the most part so thank you for that vent! I think if you let your voice shine through, and you do, your cool.

T. Anne said...

Hey, I think your cool! And I like how we KIT. Did you have a killer summer? Ok I couldn't resist. My yearbook signing days are over for the most part so thank you for that vent! I think if you let your voice shine through, and you do, you're cool.

Sara B. Larson said...

I love WNTW!! Don't really think you need it though. :) I'd definitely sign your yearbook. Hopefully you'll sign your book for me next year when it comes out. ;) I think making sure you take time to do the things that make you happy will help you "stay cool."

Krispy said...

That's exactly how you "stay cool." You stay true to yourself. And of course I'll sign your yearbook. K.I.T. :P

Jill Kemerer said...

I like your version of being cool. It's mine too. (I want the 5K shopping spree from What Not to Wear. Although Stacy scares me.)

Lisa_Gibson said...

I think we are all ever evolving works in progress; shaped and molded as we make our way through life. Lord knows I wouldn't want to be that same girl of 20 (yes, I said that out loud) years ago. Okay I do want her waist size! Other than that, I couldn't imagine.
I was pondering this the other day as I was writing about the phrase, "you can never go home again". I think because 'you' are different you can never make it back to that same place again. Kinda' deep, eh? :)
Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

I'd totally sign your yearbook.

And in my book, you're totally cool. And I'm 100% sure you'll stay that way. Don't worry about changing. I think it'll happen naturally as it always does, but you're really down to earth. I don't expect that will ever change.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Would absolutely sign your yearbook! Staying cool to me means more about not getting too wound up in the crazy "stuff" that's going on, and keep centered around the writing and the part that you love. Then you are really YOU. Right?

Ishta Mercurio said...

This is such a deep post.

Is it weird to say that I don't think you should fight change? Allowing yourself to change in a positive direction, as you are exposed to new ideas and people and experiences, IS cool. Wanting to stagnate in fear of "losing yourself" is a fear-based thing.

I think "staying cool" is about staying true to yourself, staying humble, staying real, staying in touch with what is important to you and what is true and not getting caught up in what impression you're making or what others think of you. Not playing "keep up." Just being you, whomever "you" happens to be in any given moment in time.

Ishta Mercurio said...

OH - I just thought of a writing example. Writing the book that is in you, the book that is begging YOU to write it, is staying cool. Obsessing about trends and trying to mush your story into one is the opposite of cool. I struggle with this; I think a lot of us authors do. But we have to fight to stay true to ourselves. We have to fight to stay cool.

And yes, you are very cool!

Jessica Nelson said...

But you know what? Change is good. And "ourself" should always be growing, right? So maybe you should just Get Cooler. *grin*

Eric W. Trant said...

I never was cool, but I had some pretty girlfriends.

So long as I have my pretty-girl with me, I'm good. I've always said you could judge a guy by his girl.

Might sound shallow, but it's not intended to be. The simple fact is this: I judge myself by the quality of people who surround me.

Cool has nothing to do with it, and if I don't like the people I see around me, it's time to change.

Always, though, be yourself. Poseuring will only get you busted. Eventually.

- Eric

Angie Ledbetter said...

You'd kinda have to stay true to self. Otherwise, wouldn't you hate you? :) To thine own self...

Angie Ledbetter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elle Strauss said...

You're so cool to even be thinking about staying cool! I don't think you can help changing a bit from Before to After, but hopefully it's a change toward maturity, thankfulness and grace to others who are still in the Before.

Gail said...

How to stay cool? Be honest and genuine, care about others, offer your help for the small things as well as the big things. Most of all, be sure your actions resonate as real to YOU. I think you match all of that so YOU = cool!

Oh, and if you design a yearbook looking bloggy thing, we'll ALL sign it!

Jai Joshi said...

I try to stay cool but being myself but also by taking some time away from the blog and writing to be myself. We all need some time away to get our minds reset.

I also sleep on the roof which helps me stay cool.

Jai

Claire Dawn said...

I'm kind of a legend for being myself, even when the whole world thinks I'm odd. Somehow, this gives me a reputation as fun and nice! Who knows how that works?

Of course I'll sign your yearbook. Will you sign mine?

Carolyn V. said...

I'll sign your year book! You are the coolest. I think sometimes things do change and we change with them. When you find out the answer, you'll have to email me. =)

Nichole Giles said...

Yeah, Elana. I think you're pretty well right. Every experience changes you, but as long as you stay true to that core person, you're golden.

I don't really think it's possible for you to NOT be cool.

And yes, I'll definitely sign your yearbook.

Julie Musil said...

PLEASE stay your regular, awesome self. I love how real you are on this blog. You reveal your hopes and fears, quirks and disappointments. Yes, you're real, and us real people on the other end of the internet relate to you.

H.A.G.S. (not calling you a hag, just saying have a great summer!)

Shari said...

Since you saw my last blog post, you know how cool I am.

ali said...

Aw Elana. You are cool. Way more than you know. And, I think you'll change and we'll change right along with you and yep, that's how you stay cool. And true.

You're a companion I want to walk with, if you change and grow as we walk along, then you'll rub off on me and I'll rub off on you and together, we'll have a good time. ((hugs))

Bethany Mattingly said...

I'd totally sign your yearbook! I try to stay cool by---who am I kidding?? There is no cool in this chica. :D There's just me and I'm okay with that. At least PRESENT is okay with that. PAST probably wishes she was a bit more cool, but she'll get over it :)

Angela M. said...

Well, if you do change, I can't imagine it would ever be in a bad way. You're too darn fabulous!

I've always disliked those generic yearbook autographs. They're impersonal. Like asking someone 'how's it going?' and you have to answer 'fine' even though you woke up late for work, you're PMSing, and you got caught in an astronomical traffic jam on the way home just to find the cat threw up in your favorite shoes. If you're going to sign my book, say something crazy-wild or true.

Jo Schaffer said...

Staying cool is all about confidence and optimism. If you like yourself and think the future is good then you can ride out the tough stuff with patience and allow good change without feeling threatened.

Have a killer Fall and KIT. (;

Katrina L. Lantz said...

Being a published novelist must change you a little. I mean, you worry about different things then, right? I'm sure you'll be just as smiley-savvy, just as quirky-awesome as ever.

You'll still get good and bad news, but your good news will be astronomically better than my good news. ;-) I won't be jealous, though. I might be, but not enough to, like, egg your car or anything. I do think your definition of staying cool is right on: be true to yourself.

That's what I'd write in your yearbook: Be your own kind of awesome, whatever that means.

Hannah Kincade said...

I think you're right. If you are confident in yourself and your abilities, then yes. You are definitely cool.

Angela Ackerman said...

I have often wondered how it must be for authors experiencing the before and after effect of selling that book. I think all we can do is hold onto what makes us who we are, and drives us to reach out to other people to share knowledge and experiences. We never stop learning or growing, not even when success knocks at the door. That's what I believe.

You will handle this with grace and style, like you always do. Of that I have no doubt. :)

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

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