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March 10th, 2017 donnahoke


*Obsessively check your email, because that’s where all the good news comes from.


*Know what the fee debate is.


*Have paid one. At least once. (Maybe in secret.)


*Have moments where you know nobody is being honest with you. (Or are at least paranoid that they aren’t.)


*Feel euphoria for days after typing “END OF PLAY.”


Image result for end of play


*Can become demoralized, depressed, discouraged, and call your whole life and purpose into question because of a negative review.


*Or a less than enthusiastic response from a loved one.


*Don’t believe every good thing you hear—but want to.


*Hear the words coming out of actors’ mouths and can barely remember writing them.


*Can make a coffee date with a playwright you never met and lose track of time talking.


*Have written a play based on a dream.


*Call writing a page a good day.


Image result for just write


*Have resilience that nobody else can understand.


*Believe this play you’re working on is the best you’ve ever written.


*Can’t describe that painful place your head goes when it’s trying to reconcile something in the script and it’s not happening—but know exactly what it is.


*Miss your characters when you type “END OF PLAY.”


*Say “Congratulations!” while thinking, “So how did that happen?”


*Understand the elation that comes from a positive, personal rejection, followed by the realization that it’s still another rejection.


Image result for rejection letter playwright


*Have bristled at a rejection that called you “brave” and entreated you to “keep writing.”


*Panic about what’s next after typing “END OF PLAY.”


*Know that your own opening nights aren’t really fun; they’re weird.


*Have recommended BACKWARDS AND FORWARDS at least twice.


Backwards and Forwards: A Technical Manual for Reading Plays / Edition 2


*Could probably stand to reread it yourself (but won’t… at least not right now).


*Can somehow spot problems in other plays more easily than you can spot them in your own.


*Can define admiration as “I wish I wrote that.”


*And envy as, “I probably couldn’t.” (Probably!)


*Always wish you had more time to write.


*Can’t stop.


Image result for can't stop gif


I imagine this will be an ongoing post, that I’ll add to as I think of them. But if you have some of your own, feel free to add them in the comments (as opposed to on Facebook), so that everybody can see them.



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

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 more entries in this series, click here or #PLONY in the category listing at upper right.


  1. 1 Hal Corley said at 10:22 am on March 10th, 2017:

    “Believe this play you’re working on is the best you’ve ever written.”

    Thank you. Oh, and this is a particularly insidious syndrome. I often kick this up a notch: “In this play, I will demonstrate everything I learned from developing the inferior work that came before, and correct every bad habit, from overwriting to under-thinking.” Alas, though every play is an opportunity to exhibit artistic growth, every new story comes with new challenges indigenous to the world created and characters who inhabit it. Still, that commitment to getting it all right THIS time prevails. Playwriting does have its Groundhog Day component: every new piece is a fresh start.

  2. 2 Patrick Gabridge said at 10:23 am on March 10th, 2017:

    Love this list!

  3. 3 Laura Rohrman said at 1:35 pm on March 10th, 2017:

    I love this! I haven’t been able to say “End of Play” in awhile….

  4. 4 Robin said at 2:46 pm on March 10th, 2017:

    How about…

    You know that three months and/or ten rejections after you type END OF PLAY you will be back tweaking the characters and rewriting the ending.

  5. 5 Iona said at 4:56 pm on March 10th, 2017:

    Panic with sincere frenzy just before a first read wondering if what you wrote is any good or even qualifies as a play…

  6. 6 Nina Mansfield said at 8:00 pm on March 10th, 2017:

    How about…have written the first act of many “award winning plays” that never seemed to get finished.

    Great post. Thanks Donna!

  7. 7 donnahoke said at 8:54 am on March 11th, 2017:

    I actually have not done this lol!

  8. 8 Brian Petti said at 12:34 am on March 16th, 2017:

    You can’t afford to describe your job as “playwright” on your income taxes.

  9. 9 LZ said at 6:04 pm on March 16th, 2017:

    1. Thought your play was nearing brilliance, until you heard actors read it out loud…even though you had walked about the house reading it out loud numerous times, much to the confusion of the dog.

    2. When facing story drought, worry that there are no more plays in you. (Oh my god, it was just a phase!)

    3. Believe the audience knows greatness when they see it. Believe the audience knows nothing.

  10. 10 Jenni Lynam said at 2:09 pm on March 20th, 2017:

    Regret adding in that complex character that the whole play revolves around…Why couldn’t they just be sane…for once.

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