The following words are taken from my blog originally posted on July 15th, 2016. Peace.


I haven’t been writing.

I took a small break from my computer and turned to something else instead. Something I used to love, but something that has since become something I do because I feel it’s necessary for what I do. Something that sometimes feel like a chore.


And boy, did I ever read.

I devoured – and I am not using the word lightly – devoured, Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses, and A Court of Mist and Fury. In one week….one long, agonizing week, I read both books and am now a puddle of nothing. Nada. And this is all a very good thing. Trust me.

To be fair, I started ACOTAR a few weeks prior, but I couldn’t find my mojo. I was reading at lunch, trying to distract myself from my day, but I wasn’t investing myself into the story in the way I would have liked to. In fact…it’s been a long time since I have loved a story so hard, that I craved my fingers turning pages. I missed that feeling. The feeling of hurrying home to curl up on my bed and just read. To eat words for dinner and then throw myself against the floor when the story ended. I needed that. I wanted that. For so long I’ve been more concerned with reading what everyone is talking about. I’m guilty of that. I’d find myself skimming whatever I was reading, so that I could discuss it with readers, bloggers, authors, whomever really. I felt like it was business, and reading should NEVER be business. No. And I don’t like that it has become that, and I don’t like that it was becoming that for me.

And then, just like the magic from the Cauldron, I found my mojo. And I read until my eyes hurt. I read until the dawn threatened me and my clock reminded me I had to work in a few hours. I read when I should have been running errands, or cooking. I was reading like I wasn’t cut out for anything else.And it felt GREAT.

For the first time in a long time, I have been reminded of a few things.

There is more than one genre out there. And I will not be afraid to read what I love, or in the case write what I love, even if that means it won’t be what some consider a “successful story” because it doesn’t fit what some reader’s are craving. Remember…success is what you make it. And what’s right for me may not be right for you.

It’s okay to get lost in other worlds for a while. Maybe I needed this as a break from what’s been going on within me. Maybe I needed to become lost in a world ad forget who I was for a while. Back to basics, back to roots.

You’re never too old to stop fighting for what you want, or for yourself. Whether it’s the plot of these stories, or the way Maas’s writing wraps around me like a vine, I’m reminded that I can fight for whatever I want. Dreams, goals, whatever. So I’ll fight hard for what I do, and I won’t stop. (That was always my thought, but now I have a sense of something else about it. Pride, maybe?)

To be fair, there have been plenty of stories I’ve read over the years that have touched me. Plenty of books that reminded me it’s okay to read for pleasure, not because someone tells you to. Or wants you to. Or thinks you should. Some of the books that have wounded me and stayed with me are;

Archer’s Voice – Mia Sheridan

Island of the Blue Dolphins – Scott O’Dell

Burning Muses – J.R. Rogue

Harry Potter (obviously) – JK Rowling

The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien

The Stand – Stephen King

Lord of the Flies – William Golding

Thoughtless – S.C. Stephens

Unwind – Neal Shusterman

The Boy with the Thorn in His Side – Pete Wentz

I cried in every one of these stories listed above, and they all touched me at different times throughout life, and I’ve come back to them with the same regard as I left them with. I think it is important to read a book because YOU find it interesting. I think it is important to read something with your full intent, your heart, and not because the media is shoving it down your throat and telling you how great it is. I mean really….are you going to love it because every else does? Or are you going to love it because it tore into your soul? I’m not saying that people are reading just to say they’ve read, and I am not dogging on anyone’s choice of genre or style, I just want to make sure that you’re reading to get lost.

Not to review.

Not to be friends with the writer.

Not to rip it apart and cut the writer down because of themes, mistakes, errors, etc.

Not to add to your “read” shelf on Goodreads.

Read to get lost. Read to do what the writer has intended; create a place for you to forget about everything else, if only for a bit. Read as a portal to escape. And if you ever find yourself getting too sucked in, you can always close the book and come back to reality for a while. That’s the power of reading. It transports us to lands and introduces us to people we may never meet in real life. It’s magic. It really is.

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” Stephen King said that. And I’m oh so glad I finally feel that way again.

And in that regard, I think I’m ready to write what want, more than ever.


xox Hayley

Published by Hayley Stumbo