Are you a sitter or a shipper? Do you sit on your writing, revising it over and over again or maybe never even getting to the end? Or do you ship your work – can you get to the end, get it in the hands of others so you can get feedback, get it into the hands of potential producers?
It’s much easier to sit than to ship. So much easier. If you sit on your work, it’s totally within your control. It’s beyond the reach of bad feedback, theatres who ignore you, audiences who respond poorly.
But shipping is what makes us writers. We have to get our work out there. It can be hateful because rejection is hateful. I got so frustrated with rejection, I started my own company.
How do you force yourself to ship?
If you’re not finding a home for your work try this exercise.
- Write a page on the kind of theatre you write. Make it detailed, what is the best way to describe your writing? What do you like about how you write? What genres do you favour? Why do you favour them?
- Now cull this page down to half a page. Hone in on the most important aspects.
- Do it again so that you are left with one sentence. What is the tagline that describes your writing? Be efficient, be effective with your word choice.
- Make a list of plays by other playwrights that also fit your tagline.
- Make a list of where those plays are being produced.
- Make a list of the directors who directed those plays.
- Make a list of the principal actors in those plays.
It’s a lot of work and a lot of research but if you want to be produced, you have to find the right fit. You have to show people you’re the right fit. Whenever and wherever you can, get your work in the hands of people rather than sending it off blindly. Obviously you don’t want to come across as a creepy stalker but in large, plays are produced because they’re either popular or there’s a relationship. Start reaching out.