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Making Your Gut Into A New Heart


Okay, it’s not New Years, yet, but I won’t see you till after New Years.

It’s been a very tough year.  Very tough.  It started with relatives dying, took some turns into odd personal health stuff.  I ended up on Prednisone… 4? times for massive auto-immune attacks mostly brought on by stress.  There were other things (including relatives health) adding to the stress, to the point sometimes I felt I was going to pop.

In the end the only books I wrote were two collaborations.  The second one was a lot of fun — Guardian, with Larry Correia — since I’m a fan of the series, and it was lots and lots of fun to play in the world.  But first I had to let myself go enough to do it.  And then it had to get written amid all the maelstorm.

This is not where I wanted to be by the end of 2017.  Not by a long shot.  I expected to have released another Dyce book, another vampire musketeers, and started a couple of new space opera series indie.  But indie, no one is waiting on me, like editors, publishers and writing partners.  So traditional comes first, because it has to.

This is not where I wanted to be in my career, either, at 19 years in.

And with the end of the year coming on, one tends to think over everything we did, everything we failed to do, every missed step, every wrong done to us, every what-if.

Since I was already fairly low in the dumps, due to a) year from hell and b) flu, this isn’t helpful.

But the one thing I know about the field is that what counts most of all is persistence: not talent, not ability, not craft, but keeping going even after you have no feet.

I have feet.  I have craft too.  I learned it for moments such as this.

Someone once described a writing career as “A long series of kicks to the teeth.  They were not wrong at least for traditional.  I once sat in at a talk of writers older and more successful than I and the things they had survived and powered through earned them my undying admiration.

I’m tired.  I’m depressed.  I want to give up and take up a less stressful profession, like contract lawyer.

But what counts in the end is staying in the game.  And there’s a whole indie thing I haven’t explored.

My grandmother, when you told her your heart was broken and you couldn’t go on, would say “Forge your guts into a new heart.”

So I’m forging.  And if I have no feet, I’ll walk on stumps.

May you persevere in 2018, and may the slog be at least a little easier.

Go and battle.

Oh, yeah, there’s a free short story over on my blog The White Lady of Christmas.

  1. Happy New Year, Sarah! You are an inspiration to lots of us. (But don’t feel pressured by that. :))

    December 27, 2017
    • More flattered, and not sure why, honestly.

      December 27, 2017
      • Well, I’m a fan of your “build under” line myself, but also because you just keep working through thick and thin.

        December 27, 2017
      • Draven #

        You may see how much you have left undone that you planned to… some of us see how you get so much more done than we do.

        December 28, 2017
  2. BobtheRegisterredFool #

    I’m regrouping and preparing for what’s next.

    Wish you all effective work.

    December 27, 2017
  3. I’m frustrated by how long the fantasy WIP is taking me. Then I look at what I wrote this year, and what I have pending. I’m not where I want to be, but I’m closer than I once was.

    December 27, 2017
  4. Christopher M. Chupik #

    To another year! Long may you write.

    December 27, 2017
  5. Keep battling, Sarah. We love your writing (and you, too). The only way you can ever let anyone down is to quit. As long as you don’t quit, you’re doing OK. What doesn’t come this year, will come eventually.

    Happy New Year. *Hugs*

    December 27, 2017
  6. (slightly belated) Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

    As my dear Mamaw use to say: “Just put one foot after the other, don’t worry about how fast you’re going.”

    I’m going to echo Laura. Your kind words are inspiring. Who knows, maybe next year I’ll try again to see if there is any spark left in that old dream.

    December 27, 2017
  7. thephantom182 #

    No worries, Sarah. The world looks a lot better once the fever goes down. ~:D Mine is finally under 100F, go me!
    There’s no shame in missing a goal when you’re doing something as hard as you are. To a reader it all seems very easy, but now that I’ve been doing it myself I see that writing requires endless time and energy. It’s difficult.

    December 27, 2017
    • tprice #

      A lot of flu going around. My wife and I had it over Christmas but our fevers finally died after about 4 days of bed rest. I rested a couple more days to make sure but am back at the office today. The fact the main boiler was out causing the building to be in the 50’s for most of the morning is NOT helping but I think I’m going to make it through the day OK. 🙂

      And Sarah, its not your fault you can’t write on Prednisone Brain, it takes about 2-3 weeks to get your brain back after they start you on the stuff and you were probably on the fairly quick tapering series to punch back the immune system for a bit (but not long enough for the bad side effects to really start) and never got the chance to get used to it screwing with your brain chemistry.

      Heck even when i was taking it for years (Crohn’s) if my dose went back up due to a flare up during the multi month taper (drop down 1/2 a pill every month) I got Prednisone Brain for a week or two while i got used to a higher dose again.

      December 27, 2017
  8. CACS #

    I’m tired.  I’m depressed.  I want to give up and take up a less stressful profession, like contract lawyer.

    Reading that really depressed me, and frightened me just a bit.  Daddy, after his time at the D.A.’s office working his way up to Chief of the Frauds Division and then having the Appellate Division created for him went on to a major private firm and practiced international contract law.

    May 2018, compared to the ones that proceeded it, prove productive, joyous and otherwise rather mundane.  

    December 27, 2017
    • Hmm. I wonder… Do you think Sarah A. Hoyt Esq. might be the in-house-council for Stranger and Stranger Insurance? (In the alternate reality where Adam Baldwin is President, that is…)

      December 27, 2017
      • CACS #

        Ponders thought of Adam Baldwin as president. Wonders where Kinky Friedman might serve. I kinda like the idea.

        December 27, 2017
        • thephantom182 #

          Could Adam Baldwin have done a worse job than Barry? Magic 8-Ball says: “No way!”

          December 28, 2017
    • OTOH, instead of changing professions, there’s changing genres. A bit early to declare my latest is sinking like a stone, but had an idea for a line of non-fiction.That seems to sell

      But yeah, I get depressed this time of year. I have a suspicion that a lot of people are, and that’s why there’s a long tradition of festivals this time of year.

      December 27, 2017
      • TRX #

        I think that’s why movies like “It’s a Wonderful Life” are popular this time of year. Between SAD and “be happy or else”, a sizeable number of people seem to get down at the mouth.

        December 27, 2017
        • thephantom182 #

          Oh yes, there are those who can’t handle the Festive Season. Like me. I get sicker than hell on Christmas most years, like this year. Talk about “triggered.”

          My problem over the years has been that the fakeness of it all makes me want to scream. When we were kids in the 1960s there was supposed to be a difference in people’s behavior. You wore your nice Sunday suit, you were on your best manners, TV had specials that celebrated Christmas. Even wars took a day off. Christmas truce, remember that stuff? It was expected.

          Now its “F- off, I’m shopping!” The store clerks getting instructed to say “Seasons Greetings” instead of “Merry Christmas” is what finally finished me off, around 2008. I was too old, I couldn’t stand it anymore.

          Now I go to Phoenix for Christmas. No snow, no cold, no relatives, everything is plastic, and I have no TV or radio. Blissful silence. I see all the relatives in January when the pressure is off, and all the decorations are down.

          I like the car show in Scottsdale. The week between Christmas and New Years has a Saturday in it, so the ancient die-hard car dudes go to McDonalds in their flivers. Now that’s some holiday spirit. ~:D

          December 28, 2017
      • BobtheRegisterredFool #

        My winter depression is at least partly allergies.

        December 27, 2017
  9. Happy New Year! I hope 2018 is much better for you then this past year.

    December 27, 2017
  10. You’re a role model for us Sarah, you DON’T give up! Stay strong!!!

    December 27, 2017
  11. ashkalar #

    Sarah, I totally agree with what others here have said. Whether you fully understand why, or not, you ARE a role model and an inspiration. Because it has been a crummy year, and you haven’t done everything you planned, and you aren’t where you want to be after all these years, and you are sick and tired of being sick and tired. And YOU HAVEN’T QUIT! You’ve got 26 novels and a few dozen short stories and such listed in your Wikipedia entry, you’ve still completed two books this year, even if they were collaborations, and you are working on more projects.

    So relax a bit, stop fretting about what you haven’t gotten done yet, and just appreciate everything you do have. Including a loving spouse and sons, and many many very supportive friends and fans. Just keep on keeping on. Because your books are damn good reads, your social commentary essays are wonderful stuff, and you have a lot more stories to tell.

    May you have a wonderful 2018 and beyond. Just do what you can, and don’t worry about the rest.

    December 27, 2017
    • Hear, hear!

      December 28, 2017
  12. I hope that next year is better for all of us.

    December 28, 2017
  13. You gained one new fan this year, because you wrote a book that was entertaining. May you continue to write many more entertaining books. I’ve striven to do so myself, and my first novel is coming out soon, as in I’m uploading it to Amazon today, and in part it’s down to the inspiration of writers like your good self.

    So, Happy New Year, and here’s wishing for good health.

    December 28, 2017
  14. sam57l0 #

    Wishing you health, happiness, and lots of story ideas! Don’t worry about us, we’re here for the long haul.

    December 28, 2017
  15. Pat Patterson #

    I don’t know about the role model thing; I’m pretty sure white male Mormons with a great rack aren’t the role I seek.
    However, I DO love and admire you.
    And I plan to incorporate the guts-into-heart meme into my wisdom treasury.

    December 28, 2017
  16. Brother Pilot #

    Perseverance is ridiculously hard. And has solved more problems than anything else in the world. Hang in there. We’re cheering for you.

    December 31, 2017

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