How did I start writing?
It’s me, H.B. Louise—
So, this post is going to be a bit raw and I’m going to be pretty vulnerable with you all. I think it’s important to share how I started writing so that I do not lose that connection with the why behind it all.
Many of you know that I started this project five years ago so that puts me going into my junior year of high school. Now, the idea came to me at the end of my sophomore year (around April) and I fully started writing in June that summer on my way to Ireland. I was struggling to find my way as an individual, much like the main character of my book, Caelyn. For many years during this process, I actually really hated her character. The more I started thinking about it, the more I realized the reason why I hated her. I was her. I was stuck in the past, afraid what would come next, uncertain of my life, and so much more. Clearly, I was in a rut and I wanted out. Thus, this beautiful story blossomed into a project I would learn to love, hate (occasionally), and also grow from.
Then, for the next few years I worked through the pain of not knowing who I wanted to surround myself with, dealing with judgment and questions at school, feeling not enough, and figuring out who I wanted to be when I got out. I channeled my emotions to create a story that was raw, heartfelt, emotional, fun, and nail biting at times. About two years from when I started the book, we were in Peru on a family vacation. I had been dealing with writer’s block for several months and I didn’t know where to take the story. Hell, I even had to write the ending and leave five chapters in the middle BLANK. Two days before we left to fly home, we got the text that my great grandmother passed away.
That night before I woke up with tears streaming down my face. I remember feeling broken and incredibly sad because I was saying goodbye to someone. When my mom got a text and her face fell, I knew my dream meant more. I was saying goodbye to my great grandma. It was after that that I was able to push through my writer’s block and for nine hours on the plane, I wrote and finished the rest of the book. I was done.
Or so I thought.
After that day, I set it aside and my life was changed. A huge person in my life was gone, taking with her the only small thing keeping things together. A few months later I was at Butler and I finally opened up about my book with some of my best friends. Then, I met someone who made me feel unlike anyone has before. Ben, thank you for giving me hope, making me feel loved and confident, and above all believing in and challenging me. I could not have finished this project if you had not been encouraging me (along with my parents) to finish this dream of mine. For a love so pure and for someone who loves me so big, I thank you for showing me what love is and giving me that inspiration to translate into Remembering.
Now, when I started writing the book I remember sharing the idea with my parents and they did not know what to do with the information. My dad was especially skeptical and rightfully so because he told me, only three years prior, “Hannah you are an awful writer”. Just like everyone else out there, I do not like being told I am bad at something. So, I worked hard to prove him wrong. I wanted it to be absolutely perfect (at least to my standard) before it faced the scrutiny of the outside world. But I will say, I’m not perfect so yes, I got some help from my amazing editor.
Now, going back, way back… I started writing with my dear friend and neighbor, H.W. We started writing this book or story and took turns writing chapters. This was my first glimpse into understanding my love and passion for being creative with my words. When our little project didn’t make it far, I always had a longing to continue something and ultimately finish it. So, no matter the number of times I got writers block with Remembering I pushed on. Sometimes the pages I wrote were awful and I mean they were outright terrible. So, I would delete them and start again. The important thing was I was writing.
Year after year in college my parents would ask me about the book, and I would push it aside and say I was too busy. Then it was this past summer, 2020, that I had a God thing happen. An internship opportunity was pushed back to the fall semester, other things were cancelled, and my summer opened. This had been the first summer that I wasn’t abroad or busy. So, I made this book my job. For eight to nine hours a day, sometimes more, I would edit and write. I had a goal to finish it by the time I left for family vacation in July. This time of editing and writing were different because I wanted it to be perfect. When something didn’t make sense, I deleted it. When I didn’t think a part was perfect, I added another scene, another line, anything extra. Then I reached the end, and I was nervous that I hadn’t done enough. That’s when I called my sister (who is one of the people who has read it in its entirety) and told her I wanted to change the ending. Some might say I was stalling, and maybe I was, but I knew it wasn’t perfect and I wanted to make it better.
After I completed that final line, I just sat there staring at this manuscript trying to grasp that I was done. I was done. A project that inspired so much growth in me was done and I didn’t know how to feel. Of course, I was happy to be done, but a part of me wondered: What could be next?
All my love and thanks, H.B. Louise