Hellbent on Hope: Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In

I was going to reveal something to you today that I’m extremely proud of. Something I’ve been working on for the last couple months. Something that’s been hard not to post about until now because I have zero patience and a terrible need to share.

A project, a sign of faith, a beacon of hope.

Of course I didn’t see it as all of those things until today. Before, it was just something I needed and wanted to do for me. To help me believe in myself again after a lot of rejections and setbacks and personal demons that managed to slip back in to derail my dreams.

That was before last Friday. Before hatred reared its ugly head again into the world I know. The world I know is not normally drenched in blood and covered in rubble. Most of us here in this country don’t know that world, and I thank God for that. I wish no one did.

But when that world dives into our hearts, it’s hard to shake.

That hatred becomes a living thing, ripping and tearing and shattering everything in its path and the collateral damage felt in shock waves around the planet can be too much to bear. We have a friend who lost three loved ones in Paris. I cannot imagine the grief.

I’m a sensitive. September 11, Paris, Beirut, and the thousands of other atrocities perpetrated around the world and in our own back yards here seep into my psyche and wreak havoc on my ability to see the good, to have hope, faith that we’re going to be okay. In that fugue, I focus on the hate. This brings me to my knees, paralyzing everything.

But I’m trying like hell to re-frame my thoughts. Re-frame the way I see, not only myself, but the world in general. And most days I do see the good. I see the beautiful humanity in a smile from a stranger, or one person helping another. That too brings me to my knees, but in a good way.

A friend of mine obstinately refuses to be drawn low by the hatred, to let anyone steal his belief in the essential goodness of humanity. No matter how horrible we can be to one another. Not only do I respect him for his perspective, I envy him for it. I wish I automatically went to the good, too, when faced with so much bad.

He posted a meme of Mr. Rogers on Friday:

Mr. RogersIt’s a beautiful sentiment and it’s absolutely true. We should always look for the helpers. They will restore our faith in humanity when it gets blown apart by the hatred of those who want to bring us misery. My friend is one of those helpers. He’s also a terrific writer.

A few months ago, on a particularly bad day, after my fourth rejection in a row, and reading about terrible events somewhere in the world, I had a crisis of faith and was deeply struggling with the importance of being a writer at all.

Who cares when there’s so much pain and suffering in the world? So much senseless violence.

I expressed this to another writer friend, a brilliant and talented and sensitive man who struggles with some of the same issues I do surrounding self-worth and finding his place in the world.

“I’ve been having a rough go lately, like apocalyptic rough, with my writing,” I said. “I’ve been struggling to find a reason to write. Children are dying, wars are being waged, Donald Trump is running for president. Who the hell is going to care about what I write?”

He replied, “I think that people need you to write because children are dying, wars are being waged, and the Trump is running for President. More than ever, people need a warm place to escape to.”

That sentiment landed and I’m grateful for the reminder. Both of my friends are right.

We must never stop making art. Click To Tweet

Never be afraid or deterred or tricked by the hatred in the world into believing art doesn’t matter. That it doesn’t have power. ISIS and every other terrorist organization would like us to believe it doesn’t. They destroy ancient artifacts and burn books, trying to rewrite history, but they will fail. The simple fact that they’re destroying these works of art speaks to their immeasurable power.

These people try to instill fear and hatred by perpetrating mass attacks on innocent people. We can’t let them succeed in their attempts to incite those feelings in us.

It’s our job to choose love. Make love. Be love. And never give up hope. Click To Tweet

To continue, in the face of the horror and the hate, to speak our creative souls into life because if we stop, they win. They cannot win.

Today, I was going to share that my novel, Chasing Kate, is now available in paperback.

Kelly Byrne's Chasing KateI was going to share the story about how I didn’t give up on it, after many years and even more rejections from editors who loved it, but couldn’t take on a new writer – because recession.

I was going to share how I needed to hold the book in my hands, to feel it whole and real, a small step to help mend my slightly shredded confidence as a writer.

I was going to share how my amazing, talented, and supremely supportive boyfriend designed the beautiful cover while I created the interior. It’s a gorgeous book, a great accomplishment.

I was excited to share this with you – until last Friday. And then I started feeling like it just didn’t matter.

But it does matter.

Just as choosing to love in the face of everything hateful matters. All of our accomplishments, all of our endeavors matter. Because it’s our job to help leave a legacy of art and stories and the truth of the human heart, with all its beauty and flaws, that lifts our souls instead of dragging them through the rubble of that unadulterated hatred.

So let’s spread the love.

Leave a comment below about something you’ve created that you’re proud of. Something important to you. Something you’ve brought into this world that makes it a better place, even if it’s only for you.

It can be art, it can be writing, it can be your children, it can be a toenail exhibit. Don’t care.

If you can’t think of anything to share, tell me, what stirs your soul? What excites you about being human? Share that. I only ask that it be positive and overflowing with love and hope. Because that’s a good goal, don’t you think?

Author Kelly Byrne Website

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Kelly Byrne
An award-winning writer in many a genre, I currently herd words into novels and short stories about wildly flawed, but lovable characters. I strive to uncover the extraordinary in the ordinary, for those who believe in the possibility of the impossible, and those who always believe in love. My fiction embraces the idea that extraordinary things can and do happen in the real world. These whisperings of supernatural elements give my work a strong emotional edge, lending surprise and wonder to every story. I live in Los Angeles with my desperately handsome boyfriend where I’m working on my next novel.


  1. Oh Kelly! Once again with the feels. You beautifully encapsulated how everyone should be feeling. It’s okay to feel that hatred and sense of hopelessness, as long as it’s balanced out with the hope of a new day and love of our fellow man.

    And GREAT JOB with your release! You have every right to be proud and happy.

    1. Yes, the love is always there for me, and for most people I think. For me, it’s just hard to see that hope when things are so bleak and dark and the force of their hate is so strong. But we have to remember that hatred doesn’t represent who we are as the human race just because a few select groups of people use it as their driving force. Can’t let that in.

      Thank you so much, Shawna. Hugs.

  2. Damn it, I wanted the paperback version. I’ll have to get it so you can sign it for me Kelly. Honestly, I’ve been rooting for you since I first read the book in – what was it – 2010? I really hope your writing meets the big wigs in NY one of these days. When that happens, I think I’d be just as happy as you.

    My hope is to one day be published. In a way, that’s why I’m glad I met Brenda Hill. She lives in Yucaipa, which is a stone’s throw from Moreno Valley. She’s been published traditionally and written several books. Meeting her and being at her writer’s groups made my dream a tangible. Here is a real live writer whose been published the old school way, and sharing her knowledge. I’ve never even met a lottery winner. Meeting her was special to me, just like meeting you.

    For me, the will to write is what gives me hope. As long as there’s desire, there’s possibility. It’s when you give up, all goes to hell. I’ve always given up at everything I’ve ever tried. It’s something I’ve beaten myself up over, for years. But I keep writing, here and there, as a way to prove to myself that even quitters can reform. All you have to do is hope, and keep trying. You’re a huge motivation for aspiring writers like me. By publishing your book in paperback, on your terms, you’re making dreams possible for the rest of us.

    1. Thank you so much Rach. Your support is really amazing. And while my ultimate goal was initially to be a traditionally published author, I’ve rearranged that a bit in the last few years. I’ve come to realize that going indie may be the way, or ultimately becoming a hybrid author. That’s what I’m reaching for now.

      I’m really happy that you found a home in your writer’s group. That’s so wonderful. I need to find one as well. And getting feedback from a traditionally published author is fantastic.

      Thank you for sharing what keeps you going. The will to do what you love, even when it’s hard and we’re faced with so much rejection.

      You’re so right – giving up means falling apart. Means losing hope. Never give up, Rach. And always know that you can go the indie route if you choose.

      If you wrote a page a day every day, you’d have a novel in a year. Always keep that in mind. Those here and there days add up especially when you make them a habit. Try it. See how it goes.

      Use a calendar to X off the days you write. Soon enough you’ll be stringing together red Xs and you won’t want to break that line. It works. Just have the faith in yourself and believe that you can. That is really all that’s standing in your way. In my way. In anyone’s way. Believe.

      And always keep learning. Learn the craft, learn about story structure, and never stop reading.

      Big hugs, Rach. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here with me today. I really appreciate it. And I believe in you.

  3. You’re so perceptive, my sweet sensitive. Keep making art! Anyone who has hate residing in them tries everything they can to get others to relocate to their neighborhood. But when good exists in you, either inherently or through what you put into the world, you will not be moved, no matter how attractive the offer. Don’t let them foreclose on your heart.

    As far as what I’ve created, it’s gots to be my girl. Mostly because I didn’t think I had it in me to create another human, period. But also because of the woman she’s becoming. She too will fight to make art and refuses to get sucked into the drama.

    1. Beautifully put, Kel. I’m not moving!

      I was hoping you’d say that about your girl. Even though I haven’t met her face to face yet, but I know she’s amazing. Thank you, Kel. Hugs.

  4. Thank you, Pats. I thought about you and our other friend a lot as I wrote this. I’m so incredibly sorry for your loss.

    TICTRITPFD is on my night stand. Thank you for sharing that. One thing I know about your writing, your music, your life’s work – none of it is tiny. You are brave and amazing and a universe unto yourself. Love you.

  5. Ah, what a therapeutic read for me. You know my demons well, Kelly.

    What did I create today? I created a little bubble of belief out of thin air, one that wasn’t there before. It was only a little piece of magic, and very, very personal, but it gave me hope.

    I wrote a chapter in my new manuscript while flying from San Francisco to Houston–my first in weeks. Who knows, I may tun out to be a writer, after all. 🙂

    1. I do know them well, Scott. I’m glad this was therapeutic for you. And congratulations on that bubble of belief. That’s huge. Yeah, I think it’s looking good for you turning out to be that writer after all. 😉 A brilliant one.

  6. Love this article. Love your writing. Love the sentiment. And yes! The world needs people like you, now more than ever. I just posted in a comment to your latest post that I read and LOVED Chasing Kate. Thank you for having the courage to stick with it, to continue to show up and put your work out there.

    I myself am in the early (early) stages of starting my own blog. I am so excited!! And I only just arrived at your blog and already find myself inspired. Let’s all continue to spread love and light and beauty and art…in whatever way stirs our soul.

    1. Wow, what a lovely surprise to wake up to this morning, Yvon. Thank you so much! For all your kind words and for being inspired. It’s tough, sometimes, when there are so many bad things happening in the world to get and remain inspired and still find the good in doing creative things, but we must. It’s the light to that darkness and we have to keep it shining no matter what.

      Thank you so much for stopping by the blog and contributing to the conversation. It’s wonderful to have you here. And I want to wish you the very best of luck with your own. Please send me a link when it’s up and running. I’d love to read your work.

      If you’d like to get notified when I put up a new post, you can subscribe to the blog (I noticed you subscribed to my Book Club – awesome!) by signing up on the sidebar to the right. It’s under my photo where it says “Don’t miss a post!” That way you’ll get each post in your inbox.

      It’s so lovely to ‘meet’ you, Yvon. I look forward to chatting with you more. 🙂

      1. Yes, we all need to keep shining our light. When we continue to look for love we will find more and more things to love.

        And I have to admit that I accidentally signed up for you book club, I meant to sign up for your newsletter. But I love books so clearly I needed to join ;). Signed up for your blog now as well. Don’t want to miss a thing.

        P.S. And I will let you know once my blog goes live. Thank you for your encouragement.

        1. Yay for happy accidents! Actually, my Book Club is my newsletter. I let my readers know what I’m working on and have giveaways and special deals for the club members as well as giving book recommendations, so you’re in the right place. 🙂

          I’m thrilled to have you on the blog now too. Awesome. And please do let me know when yours goes live. I’d love to read it.

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