It's always difficult for me to begin the next play. I want to be writing, I want to be in the thick of it, but actually beginning the process is difficult. In these first stages, the planning, it doesn't quite feel like "work." When I'm researching or sitting and thinking about the play and characters or reading about something to get my imagination going, it just doesn't feel like I'm making headway on the play at all.
I know, intellectually, that this beginning work is crucial. I'm not planning on writing a full outline before I begin, but I do want to know my characters so that when a new scene jumps into my mind, I know how they may react to it. I know what the play's about in some small way. I'm inspired by two short plays that I wrote for 31 Plays in 31 Days:
I haven't, to the best of my knowledge, won a Pulitzer. Annie Baker has and there was an article recently about what it's like for her to write now that she's won a Pulitzer. It didn't get into the psychology of having to write the next play after winning such an award, which would be a pretty substantial hurdle for me to overcome personally. This is something I'm learning now that it's rejection season.
My rejections this year, more than every other year, have been oddly positive. I received a P.S. on one that said, "Even though you aren't... All of our readers expressed great admiration..." Another said, "Woman Studies was very well received by our selection committee." Now, these responses are pretty far from winning a Pulitzer, but they make me feel as though I'm on the right track. I have one goal with each new play: do better. Each play should be stronger than the last in some way. Maybe the characters are better developed. Maybe the structure is better defined. Maybe the theatricality is more interesting. Something has to be better, otherwise why write another one? If I can't move forward, if I can't stretch myself, why start thinking, planning, and writing? Writing a play takes so much time and energy, why waste it by standing still?
How are you moving forward? What's next for you?
Good luck, friends and, as always, be excellent to each other.