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Starting Over

June 3, 2010

This was written using the following quote as a prompt:
There is a special sadness in achievement, in the knowledge that a long-desired goal has been attained at last, and that life must now be shaped toward new ends. – Arthur C. Clarke

She sat at her desk staring at the blinking cursor. The glow of the blank page her only light. Her hands were poised and ready, but she couldn’t find the strength to tap a single key. Ideas that had once flowed through her so freely were now frozen in her mind. The beautiful stream of creativity now held captive beneath an icy wasteland.

Her heart ached at the thought of starting again. A process that once brought so much joy, now left her feeling hopeless and alone. Tears streamed down her cheeks. So many words, so many hours, so many ideas.

How can I ever do it again?

She had given so much, and now it was all over. Her hopes, her dreams, her everything was bound neatly on a shelf and sold at discount prices.

There was nothing left to give. With a heavy heart, she pushed away from the desk and picked up the book from her coffee table – its glossy cover and bold title mocking her. Collapsing on the couch, she curled up and cried herself to sleep.

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20 Comments leave one →
  1. June 3, 2010 8:23 PM

    Are these the thoughts that besiege you when you work, finish working or attempt to start something new? The anxiety of other writers can be so interesting.

    • June 5, 2010 4:19 AM

      I wrote this a few months ago and honestly, at the time, it wasn’t something I worried about. Now that I’m done editing my first ms, it is. I find that most writers are worriers. It’s in our nature.

  2. June 3, 2010 8:37 PM

    I can well imagine feeling this, although i haven’t yet finished my first novel. You’ve done a good job of capturing this aspect of the writing process. “The beautiful stream of creativity now held captive beneath an icy wasteland.” But this is much more than writer’s block … it’s mourning for what was and fear of what will be.

  3. June 4, 2010 7:29 AM

    My new favorite.

  4. June 4, 2010 8:31 AM

    I love this story, especially the last paragraph. “There was nothing left to give.” is just gorgeous in its simplicity and meaning. I can totally relate when I’m feeling depressed – I tend to disqualify the positive things and wonder if it all just isn’t some fluke. Thankfully that’s all lies. 🙂

  5. soesposito permalink
    June 4, 2010 9:50 AM

    I’ve met a lot of good writers online and then have seen their work at the bookstore on the discount shelves and felt so bad. This is what I imagine they feel like.

  6. June 4, 2010 9:56 AM

    Oh no. 😦 This hits home. Great use of the prompt.

  7. DianeG permalink
    June 4, 2010 10:54 AM

    Indeed. And many writers have said that after one novel has been published they never know if there will be another one, and have great fear that there won’t be.

    “Remaindered” is an extremely sad word.

  8. June 4, 2010 4:18 PM

    I’ve been here, and you’ve described it beautifully. Great job integrating the prompts. This is one of my favorites.

  9. June 4, 2010 4:32 PM

    Yes, I can feel that pain…not so much the being sold on discount part but the scary starting over part. Every time I start a new WIP I have a moment of panic where it’s like I’ve forgotten how to do it. How do I get started…but then I remember, start with the scene in my head and then the rest flows from there.

    I hope I never get writer’s block like your protag…that would be something to cry over!

  10. June 4, 2010 6:07 PM

    I like this a lot, but you already knew that 🙂 I get the feeling every time I start a new project (hell, I think it’s why I’m having so much trouble with my current WiP, and I’m not published yet)

  11. June 5, 2010 9:44 AM

    Ooh, that fear of the unknown, and then the sort of “post-partum depression” when you finish creating a work.

    Great piece. Lots of emotion portrayed in a small space. Well done.

  12. June 5, 2010 11:44 AM

    Agree that the fear of the unknown is paralyzing. And when something is finished, that fear begins anew with a new project. No matter how many times one faces it!

    Well depicted!

  13. June 5, 2010 12:54 PM

    Writing can be such a lonely activity, and you captured that emotion very well. The best thing about the Internet for me as a writer is that I can get reinforcement and feedback from others so consistently. It helps, but that hopelessness and frustration is always lurking.

  14. Kelly permalink
    June 5, 2010 1:31 PM

    Very nice Dani! Love reading your shorts!

  15. June 6, 2010 10:32 AM

    Congrats on hitting the target but as you’ve pointed it can be a little soul destroying. Especially when you know the time, the passion, the tears and the sheer bloody determination behind the original project.

    Hope you hunt the muse down and get a great start on your next project.

  16. June 6, 2010 8:01 PM

    Have you been spying on me? Well, ok, maybe not me…

    Well done!

  17. June 6, 2010 8:41 PM

    Ah, yes, an emotion most writers know quite well. Nice story.

  18. dbreynolds permalink
    June 7, 2010 4:50 PM

    Something I hope never to experience! But I have known other people in other pursuits who derive little pleasure from the attainment of a long-sought goal. Once they’re there, they immediately start looking around for a new challenge.

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