You’re Not Going to Believe This

So I’ve gotten a few messages asking if I’m from Alaska. I take it that people doubt the blog name: AlaskaFantasyWriter. Which is understandable. How many people do you meet every day that say, “Oh, I’m from Alaska, the place where mosquitos are our state bird and we ride moose around like horses.”

Disclaimer: Do not attempt to ride moose. 

The answer to this question of where I’m from is bogged with background history and a truckload of shipping totes.

The short answer? You’re not going to believe this, but I really do live in Alaska.

The long answer? I’m originally from Oklahoma, Alaska’s exact opposite as far as weather, post office rates, and accents are concerned. My parents are school teachers. They got into teaching late in a state where teacher pay is just plain sad. They were never going to be able to retire, and I honestly can’t imagine what my life would be like if we had stayed there.

Realizing that they couldn’t make a feasible living in Oklahoma, Mom and Dad began looking for jobs in other states. Somehow they found out about Alaska, land of ice, snow, and igloos. Then, in 2007, we sold almost everything we had and moved to a rural village in Alaska. This first village was called Akula Kasigluk, a Yupik village.

Population: 300 people.

The village of Kasigluk is split into two pieces by the Johnson River, splitting the population and the village. The two sides are named Akula and Akiuk. Their total population is 600 according to the 2010 Census. Each village has their own school and store and is effectively two villages under one name: Kasigluk. 

Akula didn’t have a Walmart or even a gas station. There are no roads to the village. Like many villages here, you have to fly in, boat in, or if you’re lucky, and you have enough snow and cold weather to freeze the rivers, you can reach your destination by snow-go (otherwise known as snow machine).

Throughout the past ten years, we’ve moved several times. I ended up graduating high school from Chignik Lake, Alaska in 2013. This village only had 75 people, and the school had a small population: around 15 students ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade. I was the only graduate in my year, the only senior. Because of this, I can claim that I was not only the valedictorian, I voted myself most likely to succeed, class clown, 2013 Class Beauty of the Year, and several other cliche titles.

Living in Alaska has afforded me many opportunities, that I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere else. I’m going to college, debt free, graduating this next school year (more on that later). I’ve seen things no one else can imagine. I have a thousand stories to tell because of where I live and I firmly believe that if I had never moved here I wouldn’t be a writer.

A writer has to have something to write about after all.

Until next time,

Hannah

Next Update: July 2, 2017

*All comments within this blog are merely the suggestions, mad ravings, and opinions of the author. They should be taken with a grain of salt and understanding that she may just be a well-worded lunatic and not a literary/life expert.*

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Why Won’t You Let Me Write?

I have the worst case of writer’s block. It’s so bad I sometimes consider myself under quarantine.

Three weeks, one day, and 15 hours of staring at a computer screen that I swear is beginning to laugh at me.

I can’t socialize. I struggle to sleep. The need and urge to write is still there. I want to write. I want to get my story out there, but something is stopping me and I haven’t figured out what it is. 

Yet.

I’ve tried everything. I’ve tried writing with a fifty word goal in mind which leaves me exhausted, it’s like squeezing my head through a sieve. I’ve tried marathon writing, which leaves me exhausted and less than halfway through a chapter after multiple attempts. I’ve even attempted to write whilst laying down. You’ve probably sensed a theme, and yes, this final solution has left me, yet again, exhausted and disheartened.

Standing desks, blaring music, forced writing— everything I’ve done before to get out of a slump no longer works.

“Why won’t you let me write?” I ask the omniscient purveyor of writer’s block, again and again. No one answers, though, I suspect that if they could it would come in the form of writers’ screams and ink blots.

Google is no help either. For those that have never researched, “How to get over writer’s block,” results almost always include a list of things to do.

“Take a walk.” I’ve done that.

“Read.” Check.

“Plan.” Boo-yah, a whole page synopsis written in triplicate for a single chapter— done.

Oh, but what’s this at the bottom of the list?

“Just write.”

Wow. That’s insightful. I can’t write so I should write? Now, they’re just taunting me. For me, this falls under forced writing. Push through, get those words on the page like you’re fighting your way to the smallest room in the highest tower. Basically, this is the “Just do it,” Shia Labeouf phrase of the writing world.

This “Just write it,” attitude is everywhere, under different guises, constantly pushing me to keep going. But it’s not working anymore. Can I not write anymore? Am I burnt out? Maybe.

Then again, maybe not.

What you’ve just read is my first exercise of writing something different, something out of my comfort zone. I’m not writing from behind someone else’s point of view, I’m not writing dialogue with Irish accents. I’m not planning and sneaking in plot twists or romantic trysts.

I’m writing for me, as me. Which is something I haven’t done in awhile. This blog is my writing process, my learning curve. The ultimate hope behind this blog is that throughout the year I will be able to document and share my writing story.

So, in closing, I’m Hannah Ward. Welcome to an Alaskan fantasy writer’s attempt to write something other than fantasy.

Next update: June 29th, 2017

*All comments within this blog are merely the suggestions, mad ravings, and opinions of the author. They should be taken with a grain of salt and understanding that she may just be a well-worded lunatic and not a literary expert. *