My name is María Stellatelli. I’m a 25-year-old Argentinean journalist. Nowadays, I’m an editor for an Argentinean magazine specializing in human and social topics. I believe in the importance of telling stories that can help and inspire others. In addition to writing, I enjoy singing, cooking and every other activity that motivates creativity. You can find me on Instagram @merystellatelli.
Anyyone who's ever tried to walk away from an abusive relationship will appreciate María's essay, "Letting Go of The 'Perfect' Man" in Letting Go: An Anthology of Attempts.
"What I enjoy the most is this imaginary world I create for myself. When I’m writing, it’s as if the world stopped. It’s just a blank page and me. And in that moment, it seems as if I’m caught up in a world I’ve created in my head."
Letting Go is an anthology of true stories. As a writer of fiction, did you find it harder to write a nonfiction story?
I totally found it harder. I believe everything we write, even when it’s fiction, is steeped in a bit of ourselves. Still, writing nonfiction challenges you in a very wide and different way. Throughout the process of writing my essay, I realized that trying to remember details and writing them down was harder than I had imagined. What's more, I realized I had never let go of that part of my life completely. I was forced to face it and deal with it in a different way than I had before. Yeah, it made me cry. But it also made me reflect on how much it had hurt me and how badly I wanted to move on. So I guess after all, writing about letting go helped me to start a process to really let go of this. And I think it all has gotten better ever since.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
What I enjoy the most is this imaginary world I create for myself. When I’m writing, it’s as if the world stopped. It’s just a blank page and me. And in that moment, it seems as if I’m caught up in a world I’ve created in my head. Inside that world, there are characters that only I know and that, in some way, reflect my dreams and fears. I enjoy being inside that world for a while. Spending some time over there is like playing with a child. Creating a world that’s only mine is quite exciting.
What’s the hardest part about writing for you?
I guess the hardest part is the moment when I start thinking maybe what I’ve written isn’t as good as I imagined, and for a while negative thoughts fill my head. I try not to let them win me.
Where do your ideas come from?
I’m not quite sure where they come from. I’ve been making up stories for myself for as long as I remember. Sometimes I write them down; sometimes I just enjoy them at the moment and then let them go. I believe some have to do with my own life, with what I’ve lived and with the people I’ve met. It’s like they live in the back of my head and pop up all of a sudden when I’m spending some time on my own.
How much time each week do you devote to writing?
I guess it depends on what I’m working on at the moment. I try to write at least a little each day, whether it is part of a novel or a magazine article. When I’m working hard on something I can spend hours with it. Still, some days I dedicate fully to editing texts, which I quite enjoy, too.
What are you working on?
Nowadays I’m an editor at an Argentinean magazine, so basically most of my energy is put there. Right now I’m mostly making up new ideas for the magazine and looking for new writers who would like to take part in it. I write some articles for it, too. So I’m learning quite a lot. I’ve got a long way to go yet. And then I have this personal project that started as hobby a few years ago: I’m writing a novel. I’m really enjoying it and hope someday it gets published.
What has been the most surprising about learning your craft?
The most surprising has always been the possibility of writing about anything that comes to my head. The creative world for writers is very huge. And there’s always something new to try. There always is an untold story that’s waiting to be written. And in the process, I get to discover my personal writing style. I guess that’s something you keep on discovering all through your life. It’s exciting.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
My advice would be to never be discouraged by yourself. To give it a try, even if sometimes you don’t think your stuff’s good. Ask for other writers’ opinions. Write a lot. Believe in your ideas and in your talent. I think most times I’m my worst enemy. And it’s not worth it. Trust in yourself and work hard to get what you want.
Do you think workshops have helped you become a better writer?
Yes, totally. It always helps to learn from older writers and editors. There’s always something you can make use of in your own writing. Also reading other books helps a lot. I’ve learned and been inspired by the work of other writers and the techniques they use.
Tell us any secret rituals you have for getting started each day.
A cup of chamomile or linden tea. Tea is good for the soul.
Any writers you like to read to inspire you to write?
I’ve always liked Julio Cortázar’s style. Also Gabriel García Márquez. And more recently, I was really inspired by Kate Morton’s The Forgotten Garden. Not only the way in which she tells the story and combines each part of it, but also the main character is mysterious and captivating in a very crazy way.
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