Playwriting

Taking Stock

I have a pretty extensive Google Reader. It’s filled with writing blogs, and theatre blogs, and arts in education blogs, and arts marketing blogs, and arts news and you get the picture. It’s a great place to go to become inspired for my own blog posts, and to keep in touch with what’s going on in the arts world. It also becomes exceedingly unruly if I don’t stay on top of things. My new items list can jump to over a thousand in the blink of an eye. Sometimes I have to simply click ‘All Read’ and not worry too much about the most fantastic, mind-blowing, inspiring arts story I’m sure to have missed by not reading all nine hundred and ninety-nine posts.

Sometimes I become anti-inspired. I’m not going to link to the post that inspired today’s post because I didn’t like it all that much. It was a post about looking at your writing life, but it was very money orientated. Very list orientated – 10 ways to get over writer’s block right now! Lots of ads all over the page and it gave me a headache. I felt like I was being sold something rather than communicated with.

But I was inspired to look at my writing life this past year to see where I am and where I’d like to go. We’ve also just wrapped up Canadian Thanksgiving, so it’s a good time to ponder what one has and what one feels thankful for.

Let’s share shall we?

MY WRITING YEAR THUS FAR. BY LINDSAY PRICE

  • I still get to write plays for a living. That is really quite weird, and sweeter than anything and everything. I’m enormously thankful for this little weird career of mine. This past year I published 5 one acts with Theatrefolk, a collection of plays on the Seven Deadly Sins called Swimming With Sins with Original Works Publishing, and taught a slew of workshops which inspire me more and more to push for playwriting in the classroom. Playwriting needs to be in the classroom. Every teenager needs to write a play. Over this past year, I have really felt a growth in my abilities as a writer, a teacher and in my company. I love Theatrefolk, I love what we do and how we do it.
  • Before we get completely sappy and goopy, things weren’t all great, all the time this year. In the spring, I felt dragged down by writing. Dragged, bagged, and tagged. There has been a lot of writing going on this year and I have pushed a lot of material: projects both big and small, writing articles (which I can’t seem to find my rhythm with) marketing writing, emails, the blog, commenting on other people’s blogs. That’s a lot of words to generate and keep up.
  • And in terms of playwriting, while the writing has been some of my best work, it wasn’t being picked up by customers. That can be so demoralizing. What’s the point in spending time on a play no one want? What’s the point in writing something meaningful if all anybody wants is the happy fun show? What was the point in coming up with new ideas? Why am I trying to write articles if I hate them? I was burned out by it all and it was time for a big break.
  • Writer takes break. Film at 11. It turned out to be a different kind of break than I envisioned, (I thought I wasn’t going to write anything at all stamped it no erasies, and instead wrote a full length non Theatrefolk play.) but it felt awesome. It was nice to be creative and write a play as a hobby instead of for work. It helped to take a break from this blog too. Come the fall, I felt happy about writing for a living again.
  • And happily this fall things have started picking up for all those plays I thought were dead in the water and out for the count. It’s important to remember (meaning I need to remember it, not you) that sometimes things take more than a couple of weeks to settle in. Sometimes it takes years.
  • Now, I sit here with a pot of tea and a sense of hope. It’s nice to look toward the end the year with hope.

So. That was then. Where am I headed? What do I want to accomplish?

MY WRITING YEAR AHEAD. BY LINDSAY PRICE

  • New Plays. It’s nice to know that new ideas still pop into my head. This spring, I kind of thought I had wrung the well pretty dry with no clue what I wanted to write next. As it turns out, I’ve got two new vignette plays that are being premiered this winter, a new middle school play in the works, and two abstract pieces floating in my head: I want to do another non-verbal piece like Emotional Baggage but more issue orientated and gritty. More physical than archetypal. The aim is not to get burned out, but to love what I’m writing. To not get stressed over plays that don’t make money right away.
  • New Challenges. I’m applying for two grants this year (one application is just finished, another is due in January). Both grants explore playwriting in the classroom. The aim is to branch out with my teaching.
  • I’m also applying for a seed grant development project that has to be multi-disciplinary. I want to apply with my non-verbal piece and have to find someone to work with who knows movement, but is not a dancer. This isn’t going to be a dance piece, it’s a frustration explosion. The aim is to learn from other disciplines and apply that to my own.
  • And if all the dime and nickles fall into place I’ll be headed to New York next year. It’s not all about writing goals you know. Travel goals are important too. :)

Take the time and take some stock. Where have you been? Where are you headed?

About the author

Lindsay Price