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December 16th, 2015 donnahoke



Gratitude journals and their more public cousins—gratitude Facebook posts—have become mindful ways to connect with what is good in our lives. I’ve never done one, but it occurred to me a while back that doing a 365 Grateful for playwriting might illuminate a year’s worth of reasons why we’re so loyal to this sometimes discouraging pursuit. In 2014, there were many times I became aware of people, situations, events that only touched me because I wrote that first play and kept on writing–a phone call from a producer who wanted to share the tearful reactions my play evoked that evening, being part of the Buffalo theater community, meeting some super cool people during a production in a small town in the Catskills, the Dramatists Guild regional reps meeting, having actors in Ghana speak my words– as well as all the people, places, and things that just make it easier to keep on. Productions are wonderful, but being a playwright has generated so many rewards beyond just those, so, this year, now that Real Inspiration for Playwrights Project is finished, recording them all is my project for 2015. I’ll tweet once each day under #365gratefulplaywright (follow me @donnahoke) and also post to my Donna Hoke, Playwright page on Facebook, then post the updated blog every two weeks so that nobody is overwhelmed. (I’ll also start a new blog post every two weeks, so that this file doesn’t become impossible!) If you’re a playwright, think about what might go on your own list; it’s humbling to see how lucky we really are.

And so, continuing on with December/Part Two, AS A PLAYWRIGHT, grateful


December 17: New Hampshire, which becomes state number 35! I’d been stalled at 34 for so long…



December 18: This year’s receipts. My goal is always to make more from playwriting than I did the previous year, and this year, I’m happy to report, I made more than double. I don’t know if I can continue this trend in 2016, but I’m happy with the way 2015 turned out.


December 19: The Playwrights Potluck. Of all the Guild events I do, this one—now in its seventh year—remains my favorite. It’s the perfect party for introverts, one where you have something in common with everyone!

potluck1 potluck2


December 20: The opportunity to explain the problem with charging playwrights fees to someone who was actually willing to listen. The arguments that are so familiar to us as playwrights were truly brand new and eye-opening to this entity.


December 21: Reports from Naatak that my reading of SAFE, which has been modified for Indian audiences, went very well! It was an interesting exercise that allowed a play relevant to a different audience to reach them without sounding foreign.  (I’d put up their promotional poster, but it was disturbing and somewhat misleading.)



December 22: All the holiday parties I would not have been invited to if not for my theater community! Thank you for including me! This is such an anxious and stressful time of year for me, so these breaks are so welcome.


December 23: Two rejections that said “We like your work; please send us more. We want to get to know you.” Almost doesn’t feel like rejection…


December 24: Starting to read a new play. I used to read a play a week, but things have been so crazy lately! I feel asleep after one scene, but it’s a start.


December 25: Mary Kate O’Connell and Ellen Horst, two amazing Buffalo actresses, who were the best, freshest, and most delightful part of A PRINCE FOR CHRISTMAS.


December 26: For theaters who catch up during the “slow” holiday week; it’s never a slow week when it comes to responses from theaters!


December 27: Every playwright friend I have made through this journey. They are too many to list, and I’d be sure to forget someone, but you know who you are, you are enormously important to me, and I love you. You’re the ones who get me through.


December 28: Cheap rental cars. When I discovered the ridiculously low cost to rent cars with unlimited mileage and good MPG, I did it every time I had to travel to a driving distance location. Cost of rental and gas (for considerably less than it would cost to fill my old tank) fell well within my travel stipends, and I had not only the security of a newer car, but also extended life for my own.


December 29: Enlightening chance conversations. The Internet and social media are powerful but unpredictable things.


December 30: For anybody who read even one entry in this tome. While it was a great exercise for me, I hope it was a little inspirational for anybody who may have happened upon it.


December 31: To be a playwright. I did wonder if I would be able to make it through an entire year finding joy in what I do every day but it was easy. I love being a playwright. I love writing. I love meeting new playwrights. I love doing playwrighty things, and, this year, I was able to do more of them than ever before. There is always so much more to do, explore, try, learn. Writing plays and being part of the greater playwright community makes me happy, feel alive and connected, and creative, and contributory. I could do another year starting tomorrow.  I won’t, but will you?

P.S. If you’ve been keeping up, I’m at 553 submission opps for the year (many with multiple plays); I hope the new year finds them fruitful!


Playwrights, remember to explore the Real Inspiration For Playwrights Project, a 52-post series of wonderful advice from Literary Managers and Artistic Directors on getting your plays produced. Click RIPP at the upper right.

To read success stories about Playwrights Living Outside New York (#PLONY), click here or #PLONY in the category listing at upper right.

Please follow me on Twitter @donnahoke or like me on Facebook at Donna Hoke, Playwright.

To read more entries in this series, click here or #365GratefulPlaywright in the category listing at upper right.

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