Recently I’ve been struggling. Struggling with motivation, struggle with structure and struggling with faith.
I’m all very new to writing and started when I took a playwrighting module because I liked the tutors and to fill time in my timetable for my final year of uni. I chose to write a play with the parameters open time (any time frame), open space (any place) and no sex assigned to characters so as to leave it as a blank canvas for the director to use to interpret whatever theme they saw fit: be it racism, sexism, oppressive regimes, etc. I later submitted 20 minutes of this to the Royal Court and they accepted me on to one of their writer’s programmes.
The advice of one of the mentors on the programme was: “Put that one aside and write a new one so you’ll have two plays under your belt.” So I wrote a play that I submitted to the Court for feedback (which I have and I will go back to eventually, make my decisions and edit). In the meantime, I’m giving it some space and going back my first, ambiguous play. Sort of.
From all the conversations, blogs and books I’ve been perusing, I’m guessing I’m not alone in struggling either.
At the moment, the main issue I have is that I have a few ideas swimming around in my head and I’m trying to be disciplined about it: Finish one before you galavant off on the other. So I’ve been diligently carrying around a notebook and jotting down any ideas or lines in there for when I can return to the stories.
And though my friends have been saying it for a while, it was only after bumping into a kind and generous actor who, after listening to me bemoan my own silliness, gently said “You can only procrastinate for so long” before giving me a big hug. And of course he is right, as were my friends, he just caught me at the right time, on the right day and said it in the right way so that it clicked.
The next day, I went back to my corkboard pulled everything off and started to restructure my thoughts. (This is how I’ve found I work best – we all work differently.) I noted all the things I knew about my characters, their relationships with each other and about the plot but also all the questions that I didn’t know the answers to so, instead of procrastinating about it, I could write scenes to see how they go.
I have no idea what the main struggles I’ve had or why, but I have struggled with where to start. I knew what I had, I knew what I was trying to do but I was finding it very difficult to find a way in.
I must say though that I found it all rather freeing. It’s feeling pretty good and I’m working with renewed vigour. I don’t want to speak too soon but it’s seems good so let’s see how things go now, shall we?
So, because they were so useful to me, here’s me sending out good vibes into the universe and hope you receive them too.