A few weeks ago, I wrote about keeping perspective on your work in the spring months, when we get more than the usual amount of letters about how our work is not quite right for this production or that prize. It’s particularly difficult with the growing number of “rejection by announcement” notifications, the kind where you don’t even find out you weren’t selected until you see someone’s joyful Facebook post announcing that they were. My friend Gwydion Suilebhan, in this fabulous post about surviving this time of year, offers several more great coping tactics, including calling it “acceptance” season. Over the past few weeks, I realize that I have another, and that’s enumerating all the things that playwriting has brought to my life. Everybody’s list will be different, but everybody does indeed have a list, or you wouldn’t be writing in the first place. Here’s mine:
1) I never thought I could write a full-length play, and now I’ve written eight as well as more than two dozen short plays. The ability to do this, and to see improvement with each new work, has done wonders for my creative confidence, which, in turn, strengthens my sense of identity.
2) Creativity fuels my imagination, quells depression, challenges me, and makes me feel alive like nothing else. I really could end the list right here.
3) I have reached out to people, and they have reached back. The comments I have gotten from audience members remind me that they are the final collaborators, and touching each other is the ultimate “success” in what we do.
4) Helping my fellow playwrights gives me purpose. Both of my online projects, Real Inspiration for Playwrights Project and Trade A Play Tuesday, have opened my community even more. And because giving another playwright an opportunity is as good as getting one yourself, I helped found and co-curate BUA Takes Ten: GLBT Short Stories, which serves as a reminder that there is so much more to all this than getting productions.
5) I have met people in-person and virtually who enrich my life daily. These thoughtful, generous, talented, and intelligent people are my community, they understand this life, they know that talking about theater can be as fun as writing it, and they give me a daily sense of belonging, stimulation, hope, and inspiration. Without a single acceptance letter, I still have them. So thank you, whether or not we’ve ever spoken, for being one of them.
I may think of more things, and if I do, I’ll come back and edit, but these are more than enough to help me through some discouraging moments. What’s on your list?
Until next time,
P.S. It is Tuesday, and Trade A Play Tuesday is in effect. Read all about it here.