November has not been a month of the industry and productivity I had imagined.
The past few weeks were to be the ones in which a great deal would happen.
The past few weeks were to be the ones in which I would apply myself with vigor and enthusiasm to a long planned for undertaking.
The past few weeks were to be the ones in which I would send my work speeding across state and nation to playwriting competitions and theater companies galore.
The past couple weeks were to be the ones … well; I’ve made my point… so much for good intentions.
In my defense, as far as submitting my plays for consideration, I did manage to accomplish the following things:
Dismayed by the need to decipher rules and regulations, by the crafting of cover letters, by the massaging of my plays to ensure that they met the requirements of each specific competition and theatre company, I reeled back from the business end of writing and returned to the creative part of writing.
First, I set to work again on a story I’d started some months ago.
The story had been progressing. I’d written half a dozen pages. For some reason I had stopped working on it. Perhaps I’d set the story aside because I’d hit a creative roadblock similar to the business roadblock I was dealing with now.
True, I’d set aside the story. But, I had written other pieces. And I had created my website, my Facebook page, and my LinkedIn profile. I’d also started blogging. And I’d met with folks from the Columbus theatre community and begun working out details for having two of my plays produced in 2016.
I hadn’t been idle. I’d simply redirected my energy. And now I was directing my energy back to the unfinished short story.
I read the piece again. I began to edit and revise the existing paragraphs. When I reached the part of the story where I had left off I took up with original writing. One paragraph appeared. That paragraph led to another. The second led to a third, which led to a fourth, and on and on. Before long, I’d doubled the length of the story.
And then, as I always do, I circled back and began to edit and revise once more, beginning with the older text and moving forward into the new writing. And the story grew and the story improved.
No, it is not finished yet, but I am nearer to completing it than I was, and I actually put in the work and accomplished something.
No, I have not followed through with submitting my plays to competitions, but I carried on and I crafted much more of a short story.
I’m happy with that.
And the writing of the short story was just the first bit of redirected energy and accomplishment. Daunted as I was by trying to sift and parse the many playwriting competitions, I suddenly thought, “well, you’ve got a short story done and you know exactly where you want to send it, so why not do something about that right now?”
I opened the web browser. I entered the URL. I pulled up the website of the magazine. I located the submission rules and read through them. I realized that my story already met most of the requirements. It took me all of ten minutes to make two minor changes to the story, to save the piece in the required format, to complete the online submission form, to attach the story, and to click the send button. Wham! Bam! Accomplishment!
It’s true that November has not gone as planned, but how much in life ever really does? No, I did not submit my plays, but I wrote my way closer to the end of a short story, and I submitted a completed short story to a magazine.
I smacked into a roadblock. But I did not halt, hunker down, and give up. I refocused and rerouted and I set off down a different path. And I got something done. I’m going to let myself feel good about that.
And December will be here before you know it. Watch out, playwriting competitions!