'Realistic' means 'doesn't ignore the facts'.
Hope-inspiring is harder to define. It's like that judge's definition of pornography: he couldn't define it in legal language, but he was sure that he could recognize it when he saw it. But, like the purpose of pornography, it's primarily about pretending.
Hope: the truest fallacy known to humanity.
Besides, as a guy trying to make it as a writer, hope is everything. It's my morning coffee, my breakfast oatmeal, my favorite drug and my comfiest recliner, and the raw ingredient of what happens on the next page and what survives the 'leventy-seventh edit's brutal and ruthless cut.
Hope: take it with you wherever you can't currently reach. For everything else, there's cold hard cash unless you're one of the select few who still have available credit on their plastic.