This Play That I’m Writing…

There’re 3 things to writing that are ever-present: the first excitement, the misery, and the new excitement when things begin to make sense.

Right now, I’m working on the first play I’ve written in – let’s ballpark it – six years.  Writing in and of itself can be hard, because – like all things – it essentially means setting aside time to actually do it.  Setting aside time gets even more difficult when you’re juggling production on a podcast.  Anyway, the difficulty stems from commitment, the ability to say you’re going to do something, and then see it through to the end.  For most people who take on the task of writing anything, this aspect can be the hardest part.  Never mind that after you’ve succeeded in finishing your task, and you decide to write something else, you begin to realize that being able to write something and having the talent to write something, are two completely different things.

To come back to the first point: the excitement comes when you first think of your idea.  It strikes a chord inside of you, which is why you’re so excited in the first place.  It’s an idea that speaks to who you are, and what you’ve learned so far in your time on this planet.  Then, you decide to dedicate time to creating it.  Whatever your writing process is from here, you do it.  Slowly, some things begin to make sense, others not so much.  You hit walls.  You begin to think, “Dear God, this thing is going to be terrible.”  Then you sit down to write the first draft, and after that you think, “Well, maybe it won’t be terrible, but it won’t be my best.”  At this point, depending on your process and what your schedule permits, maybe you take a breather.  Nothing crazy, but perhaps a few days off to go do something else, or just think about the story, the characters, take some notes as you need.  This phase is all part of “the misery”, because maybe you’re losing some nerve in what you’ve created.  Maybe you’re ready to abandon everything altogether (a character trait I’m very guilty of).  This is the less glamorous part of writing, because it denotes that storytelling is never as easy as it seems.  In order to accomplish anything, you have to be okay with not yet reaching 100% of what you want.  Then, you come back after a break.  You’ve had time to think – and I would hope you’ve been taking notes and thinking about ideas – and you start to build the second draft.  It’s as you’re building that things begin to click again.  Scene ideas and storytelling aspects that seemed obtuse begin to make sense by saying, “What if I put this here?” and “What if I just added this scene to introduce this guy?”  Suddenly you’re gaining confidence again, and it seems like you’re steadily moving towards your goal.  And by “steadily”, I mean “Like a turtle at the Tour de France”.  Either way, progress is progress.

There’s nothing easy to writing anything.  Ever.  Half of the battle though, is being able to stick around to see how it all ends.

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