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I brushed the lock of hair out of my eyes for the millionth time as I stared at the blank Word document.  It was a novel this time, something edgy and raw, something that would be shocking in its honesty and its realism.  I set the scene and threw in descriptors.  I revealed enough in the opening lines to set the stage, but not too much.  A good story only told you what you needed to know.  Nothing more, nothing less.

I finished writing the first page and hit save.  I named the file “novel attempt number 445246.doc”.  It was an arbitrary number, selected by hitting keys at random, but it seemed as though there were that many.

I rarely deleted files, much less things I had written.  On my hard drive, in neatly organized folders, were stories I had written for my high school newspaper (the newspaper I had started and then disbanded all within a few months), term papers I had written in college, and commercial scripts I had written for work.

And then there was the Writing folder.  Here were dozens of novels, screenplays, and short stories that I had started and then abandoned.  They ranged from romantic comedy to science fiction, from thrillers, to memoirs.  Very few of them had more than one page of content, having suffered the wrath of my indifference or – more likely – my paralyzing self-editorializing.  After page one, the story became mediocre in my eyes or even idiotic.  I couldn’t even bear to read its offensive lines and it was banished to the literary Guantanamo Bay that was the Writing folder.

Every once in a while I would mill about through the folder like a hipster in a thrift store, rolling my eyes at the quaintness and sometimes even liking a piece but, being too afraid to admit it, putting it back in order to save face.  I wondered what would happen to the ideas that I’d created and then left for dead in the Writing folder.  Would they come back later when my self-criticism had waned due to age and apathy or would they forever remain in the folder only to disappear forever in a hard disk failure?  Whatever their outcome, they wouldn’t be alone, because I already had an idea for “”novel attempt number 445247.doc”.