One of the cleverest pieces of advice I ever saw for writers was aimed at those brave souls who crank out the first draft of a novel in one month.
The advice was to have a “bible” nearby. Not THE bible. YOUR bible. In other words, the writer who inspires you, the book you wish you’d written, the book you read over and over again.
The idea was that when you got stuck – had a question about style or pace or dialogue – you could turn to your “bible” for answers.
I’ve decided to do this for my new play.
I’m actually keeping two “bibles” nearby. One is a book I love and find full of wonderfully funny dialogue. In fact, I’m going to write a modern version of it.
The other is a basic book on playwriting.
Admit it, you have a few on your shelf. I randomly flip through a few, hoping one will strike a note with me at this time in my writing career. It’s a reminder of all the things we already know about building characters and dramatic structure and how hard it is to write. But it’s a nice reminder that I’m not reinventing the wheel.
So this morning before starting work, I set out for a short walk down to the waterfront, read a little from each of my “bibles” and wrote three pages of morning pages. Mostly lists of the hundred and one things I could be doing instead of writing. A wasted morning.
I then put in a days’ work.
And just as I was about to kick myself for wasting my life, imagining I’m a playwright, as the sun was setting, I sat down one more time. And managed to write five first draft pages! It’s not brilliant, but it’s more than I’ve been able to pound out in weeks.
At least for today. Check in again with me tomorrow.