Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I Am Not Awesome

Tina Lynn asked: Hmmm...how are you so amazing? Come on, confess. Launched here in an escape pod by your parents during a nuclear apocalypse? Bitten by a radioactive spider? Given a ring that gives you the power to create anything you can imagine? It's only fair that you tell us mere humans so we can stop beating ourselves up for being less than...you know?

Quinn also asked me this question, he just didn't know it. (Check out his post here.)

Okay, so it's totally fine with me if you want to label me with the Awesome Stamp.

I'm just not going to label myself with it. And here's why:

I want to live every day better than the last. I want to keep improving myself and my writing. The second I allow myself to think I'm awesome, I know that I'll slip.

I won't try. I won't work as hard. I won't improve.

And so while I'm glad you think I'm awesome, and I try to accept the compliment graciously, I do not want to think that about myself.

I don't want to think "all is well."

I want to be better today than I was yesterday. In all areas of my life, not just writing.

What about you? What do you tell yourself--or don't tell yourself--to keep moving forward?


And it was Edward, for the official record and all that. He used to watch me sleep in my bedroom. Now we stay up all night, him watching (forEVER watching) and me blogging and writing and tweeting and baking delicious blood brownies.

65 comments:

Amparo Ortiz said...

And THIS is why you're awesome :D

I tell myself the grass greener on the other side of the finish line, so I keep enduring the hard stuff with a positive attitude. Sometimes it works. Others, not so much. But that's life. :D

Great post!

kellyhashway said...

People who are truly awesome never think they are. It part of what makes you awesome. But I agree that we should keep trying to better ourselves, and thinking we are awesome might stymie that.

Ted Cross said...

It's easy. I'm not awesome until I get a book published. Then I am not awesome until I get another book published. Then...

Teresa aka JW said...

I tell myself I am quality stuff, loved by many, but a person who makes mistakes and I'm ok with that. AND if I don't like myself who will?

Teresa aka JW said...

I tell myself I am quality stuff, loved by many, but a person who makes mistakes and I'm ok with that. AND if I don't like myself who will?

Theresa Milstein said...

You have a good attitude, which is why you're having so much success. I hope it continues!

I know I have so much to learn, so if I don't keep working, I won't progress. That's what keeps me going.

Gail said...

Being awesome has never been a goal for me, but I do think others, you included, are.

I, simply put, just want to be proud of myself at the end of the day. Knowing I have made someone smile, or have helped someone have
an easier day.

Renae said...

I try not to focus on the negative. I keep pushing forward and don't dwell on the rejections or the bumps in my ms.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I'm really grateful for the good things I have in life. And I know that if and when I'm meant to get an agent and publisher I will. Sometimes I've found life's looking out for me and things aren't always meant to be when I want them to be.

And you are awesome. We all are.

Candyland said...

I didn't hear anything you said because you're that awesome :)

I do like Teresa aka JW's answer though. "I am quality stuff, loved by many, but a person who makes mistakes and I'm ok with that."

Slamdunk said...

Candyland's comment is great.

I imagine Churchill speaking and pounding his fist into a podium yelling "Never, never, never, never give up."

Lola Sharp said...

Ewwww....blood brownies. *gags*

Now bacon brownies on the other hand...they have potential, no?

Hugs,
Lola

Jules Ausborn said...

I don't care what you say... you're awesome. Believe it or not you are bad ass awesome.

When I grow up, I wanna be you :)

Jen/Jules
Unedited & Jules and the Stars

lbdiamond said...

A perpertually positive perception of the world IS awesome. Plus, your consistent use of the term "awesomesauce" contributes to the all around awesomeness of you. ;)

Paul Greci said...

What do I tell myself to keep moving forward..hmmm...

I guess a couple of things: one, I want to keep living in an engaged way and for me, that's one of the ways I do it is to try to keep moving forward, not just with my writing but with everything.

And two, there are no guarantees in life so I try not to take anything for granted.

These are the ideals I strive for. Thanks for reminding me about them. It's all to easy to forget.

lynnrush said...

What do I tell myself to keep moving forward? I often repeat the initial phrase that set me on this writing journey, "Take the next step."

Yep. I'll just keep moving forward as long as I can. That's what keeps me going. Plus, I might go mad if I didn't write the stories floating around my mind. :)

Have a great day, Elana. :)

Joanna St. James said...

Considering i am never satisfied I understand how u feel, I used to think getting a book contract would be cool but then i changed it to multiple contracts and then I changed it to being interviewed on the colbert report and now maybe having movies made out of my books.
Hi my name is Joanna I am not easily satisfied and that is okay - its called learning and ambition

Jennie Englund said...

Even your modesty and grace are awesome!

There's this story I teach each term the first day--"Cut"-- by sportswriter Bob Greene, with a narrative by newscaster Dan Rather. It shows how our shortcomings make us better, stronger. If you used just the Greene part, your fifth grade boys might really love it.

Em-Musing said...

JUST DO IT, damn it! Who do you think you are? An old princess?

Trisha Wolfe said...

Oh me? I'm totally awesome ;) Jk really, I just want everyday to do just a tiny bit better than the day before. To look back a year from now and see how far I've come. And to be able to remain positive through this process. That's all any of us can strive for within reason I do believe. It's attainable, and for you realizing this, I honestly think you're awesomesauce! <3

Emily White said...

Great answer, Elana! The greatest part of writing is knowing you can always do better. :D

Kelly said...

Just because you are awesome (and you are), doesn't mean you can't be awesomer tomorrow! (or use made up words like that)

Shari said...

I feel the same way you do, except I think you're pretty darn awesome.

Angela Felsted said...

I get what you're saying, that you don't want to grow complacent.

Melissa Gill said...

Good attitude, to go from one level of awesome to the next by not growing complacent.

For me, I just take one day at a time, and every now and then a miracle happens like a request for a full!

Melanie said...

That there's always more to learn. The minute you start thinking you know it all is the moment you cease to know anything.

Hey, that sounded really smart :-) haha. Like a quote from a real thinker. Okay, get over myself. Gotta go learn some more stuff.

:-)

E. Arroyo said...

Well, you are awesome. At risk of sounding cheesy, every time you affect other people you are moving forward. Though you may not know it. Words of truth, inspiration, hope, and just forming connections. I like to think everytime I step closer to that, then I am a bit closer to being a better person. Keep up your awesome-ness. Great post!

Matthew Rush said...

And yet again you prove that your frawesomeness is only outshined by your humility. RESPECT!

WindyA said...

ok, you just made me gag a little bit with the blood brownies comment.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I tell myself it takes time - lots and lots of time. I need to keep honing my craft and learning people like you and Shannon M. and my CP. That if it ever "happens", it will all have been worth it.

And your attitude is a HUGE part of what makes you so totally BELOVED! :-)

gideon 86 said...

What keep me going is to strive for what I had before. Having great success in another field early in life took me to places I wish to visit again. I'd like to do that know with writing. Only time will tell.

In the meantime the journey there is filled with unexpected surprises and meeting other talented and gracious people. That inspires more than anything else ... people.

Michael

Jenilyn Tolley said...

I love what you said about needing to improve. I know for me it's trying to find a balance between thinking things are great (and thus I don't work) and thinking I'm hopeless (which is pretty debilitating). Thanks for the thoughts. :)

Colene Murphy said...

Yep, I agree with tons of people up there. THAT is why you're awesome! humble, hard working, gracious, and AWESOME!

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

Your positive attitude is contagious! May it spread through Bloggerville!

Lisa_Gibson said...

Great outlook! Maybe you could allow yourself to feel that you're one person striving for excellence, with moments of sheer brillance and awesomeness sprinkled throughout. :) I think that sounds pretty cool actually.
Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

Katrina L. Lantz said...

:) I love that you tout hard work as the key to awesomeness. Because that's something we can all do. It doesn't take specially imbued superpowers. I can do it, too.

Thanks for the pep talks! You are an awesome-bender (obscure Avatar: The Last Air-bender reference)!

Nicole Zoltack said...

I always try to improve too. Being complacent is boring. I'd rather do and learn stuff and live. :)

Quinn said...

I enjoyed your answer to this. I totally get what you're saying and glad you elaborated on the comment you left on my post.

As for me, I don't tell myself I'm awesome. I know that I have room to grow and improve. I don't think I would stop trying if I did think I was awesome though -- I'd be trying to keep it up and/or top myself. As far as moving forward and getting better, I just -- that's a hard question to answer -- I guess, I just keep the goal in sight. For writing, that's having others enjoy it (that's what makes me revise and work hard). For teaching, that's getting my students speaking English and passing the TOEFL test. For my dog, it's having a dog that's trained and will listen. So, it's just keeping what I want in sight and letting that keep me moving forward.

The thing about people though is that once we get the thing that we want, we start wanting something else. So, there'll always be something to keep moving towards.

Heather said...

I beg to differ, you are completely awesome. What you give back to people and the way you pay things forward is something we should all aspire to. You encourage and inspire me every day!

Write Chick said...

So I'm completely the opposite. I have to tell myself that I am awesome every single day. Otherwise, I don't think I'm good enough to be doing the things I'm doing.
I just repeat Stuart Smalleys mantra in the mirror every morning..."I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And doggone it, people like me." :-D Hahaha
Okay so not really. But I do have to remind myself that the things I do are amazing and that I have to keep doing them.
I try to be a little better every day as well.

Krispy said...

This is why you're awesome! And you can totally be awesome without letting yourself slip, as it were. I look at it as a reminder to NOT slip because once you're awesome, you want to STAY awesome, right? ;)

T C Mckee said...

I used to be one of those people who hated accepting my own faults or shortcomings. But now that I've grown as a person, and a writer, I've realized that I'm not supposed to be perfect or amazing or otherworldly. I'm just supposed to be me, that's all. I can improve or not. It's all up to me. I choose to be better, to expect more from myself and that's all I can do. Well that and have pie on Saturdays.

Susan R. Mills said...

The fact that you are always trying to improve is what makes you so awesome! :)

kangaroobee said...

You sound very grounded, that is so humble of you. It is definitely a good attitude to have to progress to the very top. When I was little I was really scrawny and shy and no one in their right mind would have thought I'd be British champion in TKD twice. It really helped to win that the cocky opponents were surrounded by guys egging them on telling them how great they were. My supporters were too busy in their own fights, so no one watched half the time. When I couldn't ignore my status any more I began to lose. Some of the nervous energy evaporated because I was expected to win. Expect to fight and ignore everything else and the job is done. If you love the act of fighting/writing then the rest is not important anyway.

Taryn Tyler said...

A balance is good. I tell myself I am awsome-is (or closer to awsome than I was yesterday at least) so I don't give up in despate but remind myself how far I have to go before I reach the true point of awsome where I don't have to work so hard anymore.

Kelly Dexter said...

Your humility cements your awesomeness. What an eloquent post.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Funny how we always look up to those who we perceive to be where we want to be. Reality is - we are all awesome in our own place.

Hannah Kincade said...

I constantly crave more information about the world, personal views/opinions and myself. I learn something new every day. I adore people and their stories. That's the thing that keeps me going. I remain a sponge and there is an infinite amount of wisdome and humor out there for me to soak in.

Janet Johnson said...

Actually, I think it's against the rules of Awesomeness to label yourself as Awesome. :) So good job! You passed the test.

Marsha Sigman said...

You ARE awesome. You must learn to deal with this.ha

I tell myself that I am awesome every day...I just have to convince others.lol And part of being awesome is to continually strive to be MORE awesome every single day.

Carol Riggs said...

Every writer is awesome, for having the perseverance and sproing to keep bouncing back from rejections, to keep writing, and to keep trying to improve. Based on that, you're awesome. ;o)

I strive for awesomeness though, bigger and better awesomeness. My sis-in-law called last night and gushed about reading one of my novels, saying we NEED TO MAKE A MOVIE OF IT. Ha. That is so cool, and makes writing worthwhile, when a reader enjoys it. Still...I keep trying to get better! I have high standards I guess. Writers almost have to.

toni said...

you are humble and gracious, which therefore automatically makes you awesome wether you want to be or not. it was a test. you passed!

haha, seriously though. good answer.

to keep on keeping on I just tell myself that I can do it. if I tell myself that often enough, and put in the hard work, it may come true.

yay for positive thinking! :D

Paul C said...

'I want to be better today than I was yesterday. In all areas of my life, not just writing.' I like that advice. I am asking, particularly in the last week, what refinements I need to make in my writing activities, both online and off. Positive and encouraging post.

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

Yeah...you're still awesome. Own it. ;)

Jemi Fraser said...

Awesome! I like the idea of not becoming complacent. There's always something new to learn. There's always a new approach. Otherwise it would be all boring and dull - who doesn't want to grow some more??? :)

June G said...

"Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall"

Your awesomeness is coming from the best source: the lips of another.

I try to remember, no matter how good it gets, keep it humble and keep it real.

Sounds like your doing just that. All the best to you.

Jeff King said...

It's been hard as of late, but I hope to recover soon. thx for all you do.

Jonathon Arntson said...

You are FREAKING awesome and part of that is you doing what you love and not considering yourself special because of it. well you are special to me and uber awesomesauce and yay.

Margo Gremmler said...

Elana, so true! I think it's key to keep a focus on the task at hand rather than worry whether you're awesome. That feeling at the end is what's awesome. And maybe, just maybe, you had an awesome time along the way. I certainly have.

Kristen Knight said...

But you do eat a lot of awesomesauce...so there you go.

Christine Fonseca said...

Hmm... well. First off I will still tell you that you are awesome (cause you are). As for me. Right now the goal is breathing in and out everyday. Beyond that, once I find my balance again, I really think it is important to connect in a postive way with others...so that is what I am trying to do. In as many ways as possible.

lotusgirl said...

Sounds like a good policy. I tend to just keep telling myself I can do it. It beats back my inner nay-sayers.

Miriam S. Forster said...

See what you've gone and done with your thoughtful question? You made me write a blog post! :)

http://msforster.blogspot.com/2010/12/things-i-tell-myself.html

Josh Hoyt said...

I think that it is important to keep perspective in all that I do especially on how well or not well Im doing. I agree that it is important to always know that improvement is necessary but it is also good to get the positive feedback and know that we have progressed. Hmmmm I guess I'm talking about goals and I hate goals. I think I need to rethink this. lol

Donea Lee said...

This is a great post.

My self-criticism will never let me think I'm awesome, so I think I'm safe there.

But, I love the quote from (the movie) Anne of Green Gables, "Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it." It keeps me going. :)

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