Playwriting, the act of being a playwright comes with a lot of misconceptions.
- Playwriting is something special.
- It can only be done by a certain type of artist.
- It can only be done by creative people who wear a lot of scarves.
And when these creative people decide to write a play, ideas burst out of their head like a
magical pony, and land on the page ready to be turned into a play.
Ideas are not magical ponies.
Ideas are not fully formed nuggets of perfect creativity. This is what stops many beginning
writers in their tracks. “If I don’t have a perfect idea, why both writing at all? I should wait til
something perfect comes along.” You could wait forever.
Writers don’t wait to write. They write when they don’t feel creative. They write when the
ideas are less than perfect. They write when the writing is ugly and horrible and clunky.
They write when they don’t want to. Writers get words on the page. Ugly horrible writing
is always better than no writing at all.
Reframe the definition of that word: idea.
An idea is not a finished product. Ideas are not novels, or scripts, or songs, or
screenplays. An idea is not the end. It is only the beginning. It is A on the way to Z not A on
the way to B.
Ideas are just the beginning. Think of them as the first step toward a draft. If all you have
to do is take one step to create an idea, it’s easier to start writing. It’s easier to take one
step than worry about running up an entire staircase.
Think of an idea as a sentence, or a fragment, a thought, a headline, a question. All of
these are ideas because they start the writing process.
And that is all the writer should care about. The strategies that get words on the page. The
strategies that allow you to start writing now.
Take the first step.
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