Heyyy! My friend and fellow playwright Anna Pattison asked me to write a guest blog about the Dramatists Guild Conference I went to last weekend and here it is!
Tag Archives: playwriting
So for about two and a half weeks I have been without an official job. Did I tell you guys I was going to do this? Yeah, I’m doing it! I finished my MFA and I quit my job and then I spent two weeks being funemployed and then I went to a playwriting conference in northern Virginia and now I’m back home and I am sitting at my desk all day reading plays and writing plays and sending emails about plays and crap like that. And writing run-on sentences. And fragments. PROFESSIONAL WRITER, Y’ALL!
Anywayyy. Want to know what it’s like working full time doing the thing you wanted desperately to be doing your whole life? It’s. Awesome. It’s just as I expected! I mean, it still feels like working, which I’m happy about, but yeah, it’s like pretty fun and awesome. I still get wicked sleepy at around 2:30, but the temperature in my office is completely up to me. I am the master of my domain!
Since I’m writing from home full time now I am going to write in this here blog more often. And you guys can hold me to that. It’s important. Get the ideas flowing, you know? Do you guys want to know how my days have been structured so far? Is that boring or like self-indulgent? Eh, I’m going to tell you anyway.
This is an average day for me (I’ve been doing this for two and a half days so I definitely think that’s a big enough sample size to get a good idea of how the rest of my life will play out, don’t you agree?):
8:00am – Wake up, tell Billy to get in the shower, read 8 pages of The Girl Who Played With Fire
8:30am – Get out of bed, get dressed in running clothes, remain in running clothes for quite some time
9:00am – Read email
9:30am – Go for a run, get home, justify skipping abs exercises
10:00am – Take shower, prepare breakfast, eat in front of computer while reading/writing more emails
10:30am – Decide it is time to start buckling down. Write in journal about how much I hate my hair. It’s growing out of a short cut. Is this something that every woman in America goes through? “I’m bored with my hair, let’s cut it short. I like it for three days then I desperately miss having long hair and I don’t feel feminine anymore.” Is that just like a universal truth?
10:40am – Make a to do list in journal
10:45am – Write some sluggish pages in this play I’m working on. Tell self that I’m not blocked on it, I’m just stuck in some maple syrup or… like, peanut butter. It’s sluggish but it’s still moving.
12:00pm – Make lunch, eat it while reading a play.
2:00pm – Read way too many blogs or (on a good day like today) write a blog for you guys!
3:00pm – Finish reading whatever play I picked that day.
4:00pm – Write some more peanut butter scenes. Google things. Read more blogs. Buy tickets to plays. Pack my schedule so full of evening social engagements that I can barely breathe.
5:30pm – Give up on work. Start planning dinner. Read The Girl Who Played With Fire while drinking a Brooklyn Summer.
Some days I have meetings with directors! I had one on Monday for example! That breaks things up nicely. I don’t know. Seems pretty okay so far. You guys should try this! Let’s all quit our jobs!
I get this monthly newsletter for playwrights called The Loop, edited by a playwright named Gary Garrison. In the letter from the editor this month he said all this wonderful stuff that pretty accurately summarized how I feel about being a playwright so I’m quoting him here. It’s just so spot on.
“It’s hard enough to force yourself to the computer to write; it’s hard enough to carve out the time to write; it’s hard enough to earn the money to pay the postage to mail the expensive copies of your play to an unresponsive theatre which may or may not recognize your name when you call. It’s hard enough to pay that stupid submission fee to that stupid theatre and those stupid producers who don’t understand that how paying a fee to have someone regard our art is demeaning. It’s hard enough that you have to explain to your friends/family/boyfriend/girlfriend/best friend that you actually love writing, that it’s fun, that it makes you feel alive despite the fact that no one seems to care whether you write or not. It’s hard enough that we have to suffer all of that AND have to know the business? Really? Isn’t that asking too much?”
He goes on to say that it is important to know the business and that the world is changing and we have to change with it as playwrights. In summary, he’s great, his newsletter is great, and it’s free and everybody who is a playwright should sign up for it. It has new listings every month of calls for submission and contests and awards to apply for. All those stupid theatres he talks about in the above quote. But we need those stupid theatres. So anyway, if you’re interested, ask me about it and I’ll forward you this month’s newsletter and you can sign up for it too!
Jessica in Music Ed told me she is disappointed in my lack of posts lately. Jessica, this is for you:
We are in a transitional period here at work because most of the students are done with classes, finals haven’t started yet, there are a lot of Christmas parties happening, and basically nobody’s getting a lick of work done. Which I’m fine with. If I ever start to feel guilty about it I think about my salary. STOP IT EMILY, AT LEAST YOU HAVE A JOB. I drove in today and listened to NPR and let me tell you, the economy is bad. Am I right? Fortunately for me, my office will always need a receptionist. Also fortunately for me this whole “financial crisis” situation doesn’t really effect me as I have no assets.
In other news, along with this semester transition comes the end of the graduate playwriting class I was taking. It went… ok. I’ve been telling a lot of people my feelings on this lately, so I might as well tell the Internet, too. Here’s the thing about playwriting classes:
Say you go see a play. You really love it. But I defy you to tell me that you loved every moment, every word, every joke and every profound statement. That’s just not possible. But, say you saw this play in a classroom with a bunch of other playwrights, all of whom you respect and who have a lot of experience blah blah blah. Instead of letting sleeping dogs lie, letting the play have moments that are short of brilliant, you bring every moment to the attention of the playwright. Because you’re helping. This is all well and good until you have somebody like me who, for the most part is able to take criticism in stride, but sometimes falls prey to the critics and tries to change every little thing that every person suggests I change. That sentence was terrible. Changed the tense right in the middle of it. And it’s a run-on. ANYWAY. This is a means to say that my play is being tossed around and I just need to work on it more and make my own play and let it be what it is. I want it to be really good but I also want it to be my play with my own voice. That being said, playwriting classes are great because they make me write more. And help me meet people who can help me be a playwright.
In other news, our office Christmas party was yesterday and there was a bit of an awkward dance party led by all my former college professors which forced me to leave for a moment until it died down. And then there were some giggle fits. There’s something very odd about drinking in the middle of the day and then being expected to go back to work and get anything done at all.
Also, it’s been raining for three days and I get really cranky when it rains.