Life and writing are messy – but you’ve gotta love the challenge!

By guest blogger Estrella Azul

This guest post was one of the toughest to submit so far. Sure there have been poetry and mainly flash fiction submissions sent in to various e-zines and some rejection emails, but that was fiction. I was okay enough with the rejections.

What you’ll read below, though, are some of my thoughts on life and writing. Private thoughts so to say, read so far by only a handful of people who read my blog. It took a bit of time to finally decide to step out of my comfort zone and send them in; to let them be read, judged and approved or rejected by the editors and ultimately by you, the readers of FoW.

And in the process, I’ve realized something valuable: at some point you just have to hit ‘publish’ (or in this case ‘send’) and share another little piece of you with the world. It’s worth it! – Estrella

Ever since Christmas last year, I’ve been consciously taking refuge in reading. It’s the only thing that actually helps in forcing my mind to stop all the chattering and relax for a bit.

I’m feeling very lucky, though, because I absolutely love reading! I can read a book in a heartbeat. I’m a firm believer that reading affects our writing, especially enriching our vocabulary. So, I copy passages that especially touch my heart, acquire knowledge and discover new things, analyze, interpret and appreciate those written words.

And, when I’m really lucky, I find answers to questions I never even knew I had.

Bird by bird is my favorite book for this year as of yet, and this is one of the passages which caught my attention and keeps popping up in my mind.

What people somehow forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here – and, by extension, what we’re supposed to be writing.

~ Anne Lamott

I love how honest and true it rings.

Because, let’s face it, most of us grew up learning how to do everything right – how not to color outside the lines, not to leave food on the plate, not to think of ourselves first, not to break the rules, not to step off the beaten path, not to make messes and mistakes, not to write about that particular embarrassing family holiday for our English composition homework because it’s private, and so on.

When, in fact, doing (well, trying to, at least) everything right only wears us down; perfectionism is tiring.

Coloring outside the lines makes us unique with a different vision than others’.

Leaving food on our plates means we’re done for right now, but we’ll eat again when we’re hungry.

Thinking of ourselves first isn’t selfish, but necessary, and makes us happier so we can make the people around us happier.

Breaking the right set of rules which don’t work for us sets us free to do something we love.

Stepping off the beaten path will lead us to find, and especially to make, our own way to where we need to go and not somewhere other people envision us to go.

Making messes and mistakes may set us one step back, or even more steps back . . . but we need to make mistakes in order to find out who we aren’t.

And finding out who we aren’t helps us find out who we are and why we’re here. There is no better way to learn and to grow.

And, by extension – with a little imagination and a lot of courage we can write about that particular embarrassing family holiday even if it feels like it’s private; because we’re writers and that’s what we do.

We’ll change names, setting and character descriptions, we’ll enhance specific traits and leave out others, we can even call it fiction; no one has to know it was a true story.

Maybe it won’t work, maybe it will be boring. Maybe we’ll rewrite it and it still won’t work. We’ll write something else.

Maybe we’ll write and rewrite a lot of stories which won’t work. They’ll challenge us!

But after writing them, we’ll know. We’ll get there.

We’ll know what we’re supposed to be writing.

When I’m not afraid to fail, I won’t. When I’m not afraid to fall down, falling down won’t feel like failure. I have fallen down enough to get more comfortable with it, to know how productive it can be, how necessary it is to growth. Still, when I sense the ground beneath me giving way, I have to remind myself that it’s OK if I falter.

I have to remind myself that it’s more than OK!

~ Jan Denise

Estrella AzulEstrella Azul is a young emerging writer, passionate about reading, floral art and photography, with an artistic personality and a soulful outlook on life. To read more of her creative writing, her thoughts and daily happenings, visit Life’s a stage – WebBlog©. Her creative writing has been published or is awaiting publication in online magazines including Vox Poetica, Six Sentences, Flashes in the Dark, Soft Whispers and in both the print and e-book version of Best of Friday Flash – Volume One.

10 Responses to Life and writing are messy – but you’ve gotta love the challenge!
  1. Estrella Azul
    May 6, 2011 | 6:59 AM

    Dearest Milli and J, thank you both so much for the wonderful opportunity of guest blogging on FoW. It’s an honor to be here!

    • @fearofwriting
      Twitter: fearofwriting
      May 6, 2011 | 10:15 AM

      Our pleasure, Estrella. Thank you for having the courage to submit your tender offerings. ❤

      ~ Milli

  2. j
    May 6, 2011 | 9:05 PM

    I’m sorry it took me so long to get over here. I love this post! I love this: We need to make mistakes in order to find out who we aren’t. What an awesome way to look at our self-inflicted setbacks. (And the ones that aren’t self-inflicted, actually.)

    I’m so glad you took a chance and sent this to FoW, Estrella. It’s beautiful. And, for me, timely. Thank you!

    • Estrella Azul
      May 7, 2011 | 7:02 AM

      It thrills me you loved it so much, J.
      Knowing that what I wrote comes at the right time for someone (else besides myself) is always nice. I’m so glad it was timely for you!

  3. Tricia
    Twitter: Tricia_Sutton
    May 8, 2011 | 12:50 PM

    “Breaking the right set of rules which don’t work for us sets us free to do something we love.”

    Amen to that, sista. I love all this. I’ll print it for motivation. I sure need it.

    • Estrella Azul
      May 8, 2011 | 4:10 PM

      Sometimes it’s tricky to recognize that right set of rules, but once we do it’s worth it.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment, I’m very glad you liked the post and that you want to print it as well. Here’s hoping it will keep you motivated!

  4. Deanna Schrayer
    May 9, 2011 | 8:36 AM

    Fantastic post Estrella! Bird by Bird is a favorite of mine – anytime I feel that inevitable discouragement all us writers (surely) feel now and then, I pick up Bird by Bird and open at a random passage; I never fail to be inspired.

    Thank you for a heartfelt and thought-provoking post!

    • Estrella Azul
      May 9, 2011 | 12:23 PM

      That’s exactly why Bird by Bird is my favorite right now too!
      Thank you for stopping by, Deanna!

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