Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Writing About Writing (More or less)

I realized something yesterday.  For the first time in almost two full years, I don't have a writing project ahead of me with a deadline attached to it.  In September of 2011, I agreed to write a Velveteen Rabbit adaptation for the Players to perform the following February.  As I was finishing that, I also agreed to write an Easter script for my church that didn't happen, partially my fault and partially computer problems. Shortly after VR opened, I had agreed to pen two new plays for this season.  Over the summer, I asked if I could turn one of them into my first musical, and so I began discussions with the composer--my first collaboration--in July sometime.  Also during the summer, I taught a week-long class and used it to write out an idea I'd had for a script for a few months.  That one I wrote late into the night and early in the morning for about three days so it would be ready in time for class. 

Thumbelina was hard.  Finding time to write was difficult.  Writing out of sequence was different for me.  Coming up with lyrics I could live with was tricky.  Working with another artist was an adjustment.  There were a ton of challenges, and I finished the script more or less at the last possible minute.  And even then it required massive trimming to fit a manageable time for what the theater wanted.  The end result was very solid, however.  It was just more of an undertaking than anything else I'd done, writing-wise.  Once that was up, I made good (one year later) on my promise to deliver an Easter drama for the church.  (We're rehearsing that this week)  Then I set to work on Jungle Book and got that one done with more time to spare than I'd had for Thumbelina, but still much later than I'd hoped for.  So I chatted with my friend at the Players' about what I wanted to do for next season, and he was on board with it.  Finding writing time was (and is) still very difficult, but Kim and I worked it so that I could go in and write on weekdays when she could be off work, and over three or four or so of these days, I finished up a new (more accurately, re-worked) Hero Squad adventure for next spring. 

That, my friends, is more like it.

It has been a hard couple years for writing.  When I worked full-time at the Players, I could write at my desk as part of my day-job.  Watching Isaac, that doesn't work so well.  Often the only time I have to work at home is after everyone else is in bed, and most nights I'm too exhausted and/or wound up to really get much done at that point.  It has truly been work just to be able to work, for Kim, for the boys, and for myself. 

And yet, as I came to realize just yesterday, in that difficult span of time, I've managed to put out six finished one-acts that, if I may say so, have all been pretty darn good, at least for their intended purposes.  Three have been produced, two are currently in rehearsal, and one will hopefully see the lights of the stage sometime in 2014.  Some of the deadlines have been stressful.  I failed to meet most of my self-imposed deadlines.  I failed to meet one deadline altogether.  But for the most part, as time has gone on, I've been getting better about figuring it out.  Nevertheless, the realization that I don't have a "finish script x by date y" hanging over my head for the first time in a long time was a refreshing one. 

For about eight hours.

Then I realized I'm not working on anything, and I discovered that I am most happy when I have a project.   Maybe I'm a workaholic.  Really, though, I just think that I never feel as "right" as I do when I'm writing, or thinking about writing, or yes, even stressing about writing.  I know I may not always have the opportunity to pursue this interest, but for now I do, and I thank God for it because I can see what a blessing it is.  The opportunity as well as the craft itself. 

I do have a couple projects in mind, by the way.  I know which one I want to tackle next.  I will not give any details (either here or in person, sorry!) because I don't know if it's going to happen yet or not and because, quite frankly, it intimidates the heck out of me.  Plus, I need some cooperation from a certain organization to even get started.  I will only say that, if I start down that path, it'll be easily the most ambitious thing I've ever attempted.  (Artistically, of course)  Which means maybe now's the time for it. 

Before another pesky deadline pops up ;-)