Keeping On

boulderWhen we left Betsy many weeks ago, she was staring at the shining cities of the story worlds she was creating.  Harry, the white gerbil who is the Guide on Betsy’s Quest to become a successful independent author, was with her.  Harry wants to upgrade from white gerbil to white hare or even a white stag, and he was very excited to announce that his tail had transformed from a long, skinny gerbil tail to a rabbit puffball.

But, except for sporadic blog posts, it’s been weeks since we’ve heard from Betsy.  And Harry hasn’t heard from her at all.

And now, as we join Betsy in her brain, we find her perched top of a large boulder, which is sitting in a sea of mud that stretches as far as the eye can see.

What in the world is going on?  And where’s Harry?

Let’s see…



*As noted above, Betsy sits on a large boulder in a sea of mud* *Splashes hand through the mud*

Maybe it’s really chocolate.

*Tastes*  Oh, ick.  *Spits it out*  *Sighs*

What the hell are you doing?

*Betsy jumps and almost falls off the boulder*

Harry?  You scared the heck out of me.

Yeah? I’d like to scare the heck out of you.  *Harry comes stomping across the mud on boots that look like little snowshoes*  *Climbs onto boulder next to Betsy*  *Plants paws on hips*  *Glares*

*Betsy pulls back*  What did I do?

Nothing!  And that’s the freaking problem!  *Harry gestures wildly*  You’ve done nothing, absolutely nothing for the whole freaking month!  Maybe even longer.  Just sat here on this boulder.

*Betsy pouts*  I’ve done stuff.

Yeah, like eat food inappropriate for your diabetic condition.

*Betsy frowns*  I was anxious.  Food helps when I’m anxious.

And you also spent money you didn’t have on things you didn’t need.

I needed that stuff!  I got a third cat, and he needed stuff!

Right.  What about all the food inappropriate for your diabetic condition you were buying?

*Betsy’s frown deepens*  I was anxious!

*Harry marches closer to her*  And how much writing have you done?

*Betsy gasps*  Hey! I did a lot of writing.  I finished the first draft of the next novel AND of a novella.  That’s pretty good.  I deserved to be able to take a break.

That was September.  You wasted all of October.

I did not!

You haven’t even started to edit anything.

I started!

Yesterday.  When did you want to have them finished to go to the editor?

*Betsy shifts*  Um, the end of October.

And what day is it?

It’s, um…hey!  I wrote!  I wrote a newsletter and a blog post, you know.

*Harry rolls his eyes*  Oooooo  A newsletter and a blog post.  Big freaking hairy deal.  You’re supposed to be freaking editing your freaking book!  *He turns around and lifts his coat to show Betsy his butt*  Do you see this?  *Points*  My tail is getting long again!  I had a rabbit tail.  I was well on my way to finally transforming into a White Hare Guide instead of a White Gerbil Guide and you have to go screw it up!

I know, I know.  *Betsy’s eyes well with tears*  I’m sorry.

*Harry sighs*  *Straightens coat*  *Sits next to Betsy*

Come on, babe.  What’s up with you?  We haven’t even talked for weeks.

It’s just…  *Betsy swallows*  What’s the point of this whole thing?

*Harry frowns*  What’s the point of what?

*Betsy gestures*  This.  Everything.  I mean, yes, I’ve roughed out the next thing or two, but so what?  What’s the point of it?  I should just give up.

*Harry puts a paw on her arm*  No you shouldn’t.

*Betsy draws away*  Oh, come on.  You’re just saying that because you want to upgrade to a white hare.

I mean it.  You shouldn’t stop.

*Betsy laughs a little bitterly*  Why not?  I keep trying to push this boulder through this sea of mud, and I’m not getting anywhere. The boulder just keeps getting heavier.  Why bother trying?  You can’t win no matter what you do!

*Harry grabs her arm*  You listen to me. I don’t wanna hear that from you. *You* can!

*Betsy looks away*  I used to think so.

*Harry pauses*  Wait. That sounds like…have we just been quoting lines from “Dirty Dancing?”

Everything is a line from “Dirty Dancing.”

*Harry’s frowns*  “I carried a watermelon?”

*Betsy shrugs*  Even that’s appropriate sometimes.

Sure.  If you’re carrying a watermelon.  *Harry waves paw*  Anyway. What the hell kind of nonsense is this?

There doesn’t seem to be much of a point, and my life would be a lot easier if I didn’t keep trying to push through all the time. Maybe I could just be normal for once.  Take a nap.  Watch Netflix.  Maybe even vacuum.  *Betsy thinks*  No, not that.

And what?  Eat inappropriately for your diabetic condition all the time until your health tanks again?  Spend all of your money until you’ve screwed up any progress you’ve made with your debt?  *Harry cocks head*  *Pretends to think*  Oh, wait.  You’re already doing that. How’s it working for you?

*Two jewel-like tears roll down Betsy’s cheeks*  Harry.  Why are you so mean?

*Harry sighs*  Look.  Forget my tail for a minute.

*Betsy blinks*  I did forget it.

This is about you.  *Harry gestures*  I know it’s hard pushing this boulder through the mud all the time.  But you have to know there’s firm ground underneath.  You just have to keep pushing until you get to it.


*Harry shrugs*  Because this is what you do.  Other people do other things with their lives.  I”m sure they feel like they’re pushing boulders through mud, too.  You write stories.  If you don’t write stories, your life is going to suck.  Just like it has for this past month.

*Betsy swirls her finger through the mud*  But…I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere.

Look at it this way.  You for sure won’t get anywhere if you stop.  And if you stop, it’s going to be that much harder to start again.  Right now you have a few people who like what you do.  If you stop, you’ll lose them, too, and have to start over from scratch.  Stopping won’t help anything.

I guess.

So you need to keep on keeping on.

I guess.

You went back to work on the book yesterday.  How did that feel?

*Betsy thinks*  Good.  Like I was myself again.

*Harry nods*  There you go.

And I have some ideas for other blog posts.  And more books.  And the newsletter.

And how will you feel if you don’t write them?

*Betsy thinks*  Pretty much like I do now.

Do you like feeling this way?

No.  *Betsy stands*  *Wades into the mud*  Okay.  I’ll get going.  I just wish it was easier.

*Harry gets up too*  If it was easier, everyone would do it.

That’s what they say.

*Betsy starts rolling the boulder again*  *Harry climbs up to perch on her shoulder*  *Raises fists into the air*

Woohoo!  I feel my ears getting longer!


To be continued.








  1. I don’t know about ‘everybody’ but I can assure you that many of us have the exact same feelings – slogging onward and not seeming to get anywhere. Sometimes it’s easier and you have more gumption to get on with it, but sometimes you just want to sit down and so nothing productive and waste time. The trouble is, there’s only so much time and a lot more to do than you have time in which to accomplish it. Don’t waste what you have, keep on pushing, and when you have good nutrition, it’s a lot easier!

  2. You’re too hard on yourself. Or, well, Harry is too hard on you? But you’re Harry and, well, ok, now I’m picturing you as a … well … anyway … *someone* is too hard on you. And I think you should tell them to shove it for a spell.

    There’s nothing wrong with taking a break. We all need them. It’s so hard to keep going if you aren’t seeing the progress you want to see. I get that. I’m becoming a tantrum queen. One minute I think I’ve figured things out and the next I’m wailing about being a copmplete and utter failure, and maybe I should just go work at the Dollar Store because people are nice and I can afford to splurge there and I could live in the basement for cheap rent and not be a burden and … wait … ahem … what was I saying?

    Ah, yes …

    You’re allowed. You can be cyclical. Yes, your health is important. Esp since you have a little furry brood depending on you. But it’s ok to progress at your own pace. Give the stories time to ripen before you tackle part #2! I, for one, am not cracking any whips! You’re the boss and if YOU need a break, well then you get one!

    Creativity takes time. You’re not crunching numbers here. You’re bringing another world to life. That takes guts, time, and a heck of a lotta soul! Maybe, much like a blood donation, your soul just needs time (and perhaps a bit of sugar?) to regenerate and “donate” more 😉

    • Betsy Horvath says

      @KC: Thank you for this <3 My fear is that if I stop, I'll never start again. Or maybe I'm just afraid I'll stop because it's hard and I have an extreme lack of confidence 🙂 But you're right - this can't be forced. All I can really do is make sure the pipes are clean. LOL

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