What do you want your plays to do?

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It’s easy to get caught up in with writing. Does this ever happen you?

It happens to writers whether they’ve been putting words on the page for a few days or many years. We get so excited that we Just! Want! To! Write! We dive into the deep end of the pool and want to get swimming.

Who has time to prepare? Who has time to wait two hours after eating?

Diving into the deep end with writing is one of the fastest routes to writers’ block. There’s one simple question that every writer needs to ask and answer at the beginning of their process.

Ask this of whatever you’re working on right now:

What do I want my play to do?

Thinking is Writing

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Getting words on the page is vital. If you leave words in your brain, you can’t move forward. 

Writers write, that’s what we do. Words on the page should be your mantra, especially if you’re having difficulty writing consistently. Words on the page makes your writing tangible and concrete.

But rules are meant to be broken. I fully believe in getting words on the page. But sometimes a good think is necessary.

This isn’t general thinking. “I should write something.”  This is specific focused thinking about a work in progress where you let ideas, characters, questions, and plot points run around your brain.

I think a lot when I’m in the middle of a play. It’s an active part of my process because the work is always with me – when I’m grocery shopping, when I’m getting ready in the morning, when I’m trying to sleep at night. I like to have a constant connection with my writing even when I’m not in front of my laptop.

Get your think on

Talk to yourself. Talk yourself through a plot hole. Imagine a conversation with your main character. Imagine the play is being staged, what does it look like, what are the most effective parts? Use your think time to visualize what you’re working on.

Ask questions. Ask questions and come up with a couple different answers. Ask yourself What if? If you give yourself a structure to your think time (like asking and answering questions) it’ll feel less like a free for all and you may indeed solve problems more quickly.

Sometimes you’ve exhausted your time with the page. You’ve written down so many words and none of them are right. You can’t figure out where to go next. Change the method.  Take a comfortable seat, close your eyes and connect to your thoughts. 

My favourite think time is when I’m walking. If I’m stuck and frustrated,  a walk often does the trick. I can let my brain go wild and get some much needed fresh air. Nine times out of ten,  the problem I couldn’t write my way out of unravels itself easily.

And then what?

Write it down. Always have a pen and paper  nearby, or put an ap on your phone (like Google Keep) where you can type in your notes. Thinking is good, and if it leads to writing, even better.

Are you a thinker? If you are, don’t shy away from it because of any “how to write” rule. Make it work for you, make it part of your process. Use every tool at your disposal to get that draft done.