Mike Wazowski cake… Mmm…
I'm still riding high after my successful completion of 31 Plays, 31 Days. Some of my friends are still asking me why I did it. Or how it was possible for me to write a play each day. I'll start with the why. It had been a long time since I was able to sit down and write, whether it was a play or even journaling. I have one main place in which I write: my Reporter Moleskine notebook. A friend once called it my "sacred space." But in the past few months… No, let's be honest, in the last year or so, I had found it difficult to enter that sacred space. I would hear the notebook talking to me in the back of my mind like a ghost, "Wriii-iiiite. Wriii-iiiite. Wriii-iiite." And it scared me. Something about that notebook scared me. I know the fear came from some deeply held insecurities. Here are some (see if you share any):
What 31 Plays, 31 Days did for me is force me to work past the fear of the notebook. For 31 days, I didn't give a shit if my writing was good or not. I didn't give a shit if I had something "important" to say. I didn't give a flying fuck if anyone liked it or not. It was work that was getting done. 31 plays are written. But it's gone further than that.
Over a year ago, I took a class with playwright and TV writer Andrea Ciannavei. She had a month-long class called "Activating your play." I so desperately wanted to take that class, but the commitment would've been too much. My wife was 7 months pregnant at that time and I didn't have enough time to devote to the class. On a whim, I asked if she would be willing to work with me one on one, never thinking that she would actually go for it, but she did. And we worked one on one, two nights a week in August, working through Skype, doing timed writing exercises, getting past the fear of my notebook. It was liberating. Again, I was pushing past the fear, getting words on the page and it didn't matter if it was good or not. It was writing.
By the end of the month, I had compiled pages and pages of notes. I think about a quarter of my notebook was now notes from my work with Andrea! She said that it was important for me to get the first draft done ASAP while I had the momentum. And I started writing and then-- BAM. September 7th, 2012. My son, Jack was born. Goodbye, time. Goodbye, sleep. Goodbye, normalcy. Goodbye… Writing.
Throughout my son's first year of life, my fear rebounded. I gave myself writing days here and there, but I was paralyzed for most of the time. I couldn't write anything without immediately passing judgement. I promised Andrea a first draft on October 15th, 2012. That day came and went…
With the end of 31 Plays, 31 Days, I wondered what my next step was. How would I take the newfound momentum and apply it to my day to day? Would I continue writing a new play each day? No. I would write everyday. I would write and wouldn't judge and wouldn't care until I finished a draft of the play I had promised Andrea last year. Then, at 11:17 pm, September 5th, 2013, my play was attached to an email that went off to Andrea. I had done it! I had finished the draft. I wrote without fear or, more importantly, without judgement. In five days I pressed through and finished something I hadn't worked on in over the past few months, except for a line here or there.
On September 7th, 2013, my son Jack turned one (see the above, adorable picture). He's been learning new things: today he learned to roll a ball, to stack a stacking toy, and to put a ball away in a bin. He also took 3 steps yesterday! He's developing so quickly now and I haven't missed a thing. And I've still found that time to write. I've taken a day or two off since the 7th in order to go to bed early; the entire month of 31 Plays, 31 Days I hadn't gone to bed before 11:30. And now with my play finished, I have a new project: a children's book. Three of them. Each day, I'm going to do some fathering, some journaling, and work on those children's books that I've been thinking about since, you know, I had a child. I already have a plan for October: drawing. Why? I'll save that for another time.
Go forth and write without fear, my fellow playwrights. Let'