Back to Your Roots

1:20 AM

Hello, friends!

I feel like this has been how I start off every blog post the last few times, but man has it been a while. Life is crazy, and it only gets crazier as time goes on. Just a quick update before I get into the post!

1) I finished Freshman year of college and it was amazing. I did well in all my classes and am all set to go back in the fall. I'm looking forward to a restful summer.

2) I'm currently in California, staying with the lovely Carlyn Ross and Sierra Abrams. These two lovely ladies have let me crash at their house, and Carlyn and I have been exploring San Diego together and having an overall amazing time.

3) I am working two jobs this summer. BUT. I really want to blog more while I'm not in school. I'm not sure if anyone will actually read this anymore? *pokes around* BUT. I'm still going to post some anyway because like I said a few posts back, I love the blogging community and want to still be in it, as much as I can. On top of the two jobs, however, I'll be living at home with my four crazy little siblings. So. We'll see how my productivity in the writing world goes.

Today I bring you a short post to break from my nearly year long hiatus. This post is something that has been on my mind and heart for the last few months.

See, the thing is, I haven't just been absent from blogging. I haven't been writing, either. I've been trying, but it's been really hard to do anything, really. I'm not sure why I've got this block in my mind, but it's there and I've been struggling to break out of it.

I read a book last year called Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend doing so. It's an amazing story, and one that rings true with artists, especially. I'm not going to spoil anything, but to put it as simply and as vaguely as possible, toward the end of the story, the main character is in desperate need of inspiration. She finds herself unable to finish what she's started, and she doesn't know how to break out of it.

So she goes to her bookshelf and pulls down an old favorite series. It's the series that started her story, if you will.

She goes back to her roots.

She devours the books, and in the end, they were just what she needed. Reading that book during the midst of my own loss of creative expression and my ability to throw words on the page with reckless abandon, I wondered, what if Francesca Zappia was onto something here?

So I went to my own bookshelf and pulled down the books that started my story. The books that began my journey in finding my true writing voice.

For me, those books were the Percy Jackson series. The series greatly influenced me when I was a young writer. I read them when I was twelve/thirteen years old (I think--it's been so long now I'm not 100% sure) and it revolutionized the way I told stories. Suddenly, I understood what voice was. Not in a way that I could explain to other people, but from reading Rick Riordan's work, I was taught many things about the art of writing that I'd never before understood.

I re-read the series for the first time in many years just last week (right after finishing up finals and coming home from school) and I was floored by the experience. There were passages that sunk into my being as I read them because I remembered them so clearly, and I remembered what I felt and thought when reading them. I remembered certain things I myself wrote after reading his books that were directly inspired by him. After reading that series, my writing sounded like a bad ripoff of Rick Riordan.

But then, that began to change.

I read other books, and their voices impacted me. But I clung to Rick Riordan's way of storytelling. I understood the power of a witty, sarcastic, funny narrator, and even in my darkest stories, I can see the touch of humor in the voices of my characters that he inspired in me. He taught me to find light in the darkest of stories and in the most hopeless moments.

There are so many little things I noticed while re-reading, and I would love to list them all. But that's not the point I'm trying to make with this post. The point I'm trying to make is that going back to your roots, reaching back for what got you started in the first place ... that's not backtracking. That's not being weak because you have to lean on where you started. It's not losing progress.

It's a reminder.

It's a reminder of who you were, and who you've become. It's a reminder of why you started, of where you went, and of why you fell in love.

And when you've been doing and trying for so long, a reminder like that is insanely powerful. I'm not saying it will fix everything. I'm not suddenly a powerful writing machine once more, like I was when I was sixteen. But I am saying that I'm better than I was a month ago, and I'm more determined than ever.

Sometimes determination is all you need to get going again.

I hope this gave you a bit of hope today, and inspired you to reach back to your roots if you've lost your way in recent years. But talk to me! What books inspired you to write? Where did you learn about the craft of writing, and what examples have shaped your writing voice? I can't wait to hear from you guys!


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  1. Amazing post, Hannah! I’ve never thought about going back to my roots before. (And congrats on finishing freshman year!)

    1. I didn't either until reading Eliza and Her Monsters. I highly recommend both the book and the concept :)

  2. *sooooo many hugs* As always, your posts are always so beautiful and inspiring, I'm always happy to have you back in the blogosphere. Going back to your roots is a wonderful idea, and really makes me want to dive back into the Books of Bayern. You don't have to be a writing machine to be a writer, just love to create stories, and you will always be one. <3 I hope you have a wonderful summer and your jobs don't tire you out! *one more hug before I dash off*

    1. Aww thank you! *hugs back* And AHHH I LOVE THE BOOKS OF BAYERN! I can definitely see how those influenced your writing. That's so awesome :) Thank YOU for your words. They're always encouraging <3

  3. I loved Eliza and her Monsters. I think I should re read Narnia then.

    1. DO IT. *cheers you on* I love those books!

  4. !!!You're back!!! *showers you in confetti*
    But great post, and very timely for me. I just came out of a CampNaNo month that was not nearly productive as it should have been, and I've been kind of down since then, but I think you're right. We should remember. As far as books that inspired my plots, my voice...for my first novel, definitely the Tarzan series by E.R. Burroughs and the Tucket series by Gary Paulsen. For my current WIP, the Spy X series (Peter Lerangis), the 39 Clues (by assorted authors), and Alex Rider (Anthony Horowitz). Some other inspirations would be the Anne series by L. M. Montgomery, the Left Behind series by Jenkins and LaHaye, and the Black Arrow by R.L. Stevenson.

    1. *dances in the confetti* I'm so glad this was in good timing for you! And that's so awesome you have so many books that have inspired you! I love the 39 Clues series. I'll have to check out those others!

  5. this is the loveliest reminder. exactly what i needed, if we're being honest. i think it's time to dig through my shelf. <3

    1. Yasss. I'm so glad this was what you needed! Now go digging!

  6. This is a wonderful post! <3

    Percy Jackson was also one of the stories that most impacted me as a young writer. Just thinking about the Percy Jackson series makes me smile and whenever I go back to read them all these memories come rushing back of when I first read them. A few others that heavily impacted me when I was a young writer was The Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley, The Companion Quartet by Julia Golding and Savvy by Ingrid Law. :)

    1. Same! It was such a nostalgic experience. And I've heard of all of these but haven't read them! *adds to my ever growing TBR stack*


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