The Dog Days

Maybe it’s the week of 90 degree weather and 90% humidity here in DC (the days when I REALLY miss Southern California!!!) Or maybe it was the discouraging feedback from the play that’s been haunting me for the past ten years (and appears to continue to do so…) But writing-wise, I’m in the dumps.

Have you been there? The feeling that you have nothing new or worthwhile to add to the library of theatre literature. That your puny efforts don’t amount to a hill of beans. That even if you were to whip out a brilliant drama or boffo comedy, nobody would produce it anyway.

Welcome to my current world.

It’s not that there’s any proof to my belief that I’m an awful writer that will never be produced. I actually wrote a five page play that actually got a reading on a major DC stage (Theater J) two weeks ago. And it looks like the one-woman show ALICE will be revived in DC this fall. And my one commission (okay, my first commission – how’s that for positive) GOGOL PROJECT is being revived next year by the wonderful Rogue Artists Ensemble. And there’s interest in my kids play THE LUCKIEST GIRL.

But it’s a discouraging life we lead as playwrights. Plays need to be seen and heard to truly come alive, unlike novels or short stories. We need to be alone to write, but we need that community of other theatre artists to share our work with the world. And when we’re alone, that negative voice in our heads keeps talking to us, discouraging us from writing, from sending out a script, from even thinking about a new play.

That’s the dog days. And for me, that’s where I am right now.

This week, I’ll share some motivational thoughts from smarter people than me about getting through these lousy, hot, depressing days. Please share yours.

1 Comment

  • By Robin Byrd, June 2, 2012 @ 6:29 pm

    Sometimes, when I am feeling that the uphill climb leads to nowhere, I’ll let someone (not in theater, an ordinary person) read some small play or monologue. Nine times out of ten, they confess to me how it moved them. Other times, I’ll write poetry instead or a short story but I keep putting down words. Or, I’ll tell a story orally. Then I don’t care so much about the sparseness at the top of the hill and I just start to climb the next one. I never think I have nothing to add because that is not a true statement; I wonder when my time will be, I wonder which calling card to send, I wonder when I’ll have time away from my day job to start or finish my next saga. Then I change my shoes, wrap my ankels and take the next hill… If I am busy pushing even in small ways, I’ll make to the next hill seeing the mountain beyond. Who knows, that may be where the change comes at the top of the mountain in the background? Hang in there. Believe in yourself. Say who you are out loud. Hearing it out of your own mouth does help. Encourage another writer…

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