Bringing Up Baby

Writing big projects for me is a lot like parenting an infant. You stay up late. You worry. You lose a lot of sleep. There’s some crying involved. Sometimes there’s a lot of crying involved. In the end, you want the best for the baby but ultimately you know deep in your heart that regardless of what you do challenges are going to come up and things will never be the way you thought they would be. I guess I should clarify that I’m not a parent so I could be totally off base on how it’s done. Yet that certainly has been my experience with how playwriting happens. I’ve chatted in these pages before about the process of getting a play from page to stage as it were. My new play, The Singing Room opens in April 2013, as of last night has perfectly imperfect first draft of a first act!  Having just given “birth” to my first play, this one has had an easier delivery process.There wasn’t as much pushing involved.  Okay enough with the labor metaphors. It’s oddly grossing me out.  Let’s just say my writing process this time around is a little less chaotic now that I  (sort of) know what I’m doing.

The Singing Room profiles one very disappointing birthday party at one very rowdy and random karaoke bar. The show will function like an actual evening of karaoke as the characters and members of the audience sing their favorite jams while a series of unfortunate (and hopefully hilarious) birthdaytastrophes happen to our heroine,the aptly named April. My last show was a series of vignettes and this one is a two act comedy with intermission. Plus the whole thing has to be written loosely enough to accommodate the karaoke shenanigans of the cast and crowd while keeping a real plot on track. Like any new parent, the very idea of any of this scared the shit out of me. Turns out I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s a different type of show. I’m horrible at keeping a constant thread together to move a plot along. Yep, I’m in deep shit. But guess what? It doesn’t matter!

Like the generations of fearless or perhaps idiotic parents before me, I did it anyway. Now that I am covered in characters and relationships and dialogue and that it’s actually getting staged, there is no turning back. And it’s an exhilarating process. It’s amazing to see things come to life and shoot out of my brain. There’s twists and turns and surprises I didn’t plan on. I had this incredible moment last night where a character and her words and life really moved me and I just met the woman! As you might have noticed, dear readers, I’m also giving new life to urtheinspiration too. I hate the whole web design thing because its scary and I suck at it and please see above list of playwriting doubts for further information . But so far I’m happy with it. I’m creating more content and having a lot of fun. The point I’m trying to make I guess is that none of these little writer miracles would have happened if the fear had won. So here’s to sticking your neck out and going after your dreams regardless of how crazy and perhaps idiotic they might be.

Tell me, friends what’s the crazy dream you’re currently giving birth to? Or what’s the dream project you’re dying to start? And if you’re a writer or creative type, share with me your genius process of how you stay inspired and keep creating even when fear tries to knock you down. Go!


5 thoughts on “Bringing Up Baby

  1. Writing is my 12th step. It keeps me sane & sober. Writing gives me everything I wanted from drugs and alcohol. I get to be cool, I get all the hot women, I can fly a jet, fly a space ship, explore being a different color or sex, and I can do it all anywhere. Writing gives me the same rush, and the same spaced-out feeling I got while high.

    So my motivation is my selfish desire to feel good.

    I find myself inspired by just about everything. Twitter, TV, or just out for a walk.

    I’m hoping to write a novel. I have a character who is demanding one. As a short story writer, novel writing is a stretch, and I’m working on my stamina to write longer pieces.

    • Mark, I totally agree and if what you write makes you feel that good, just imagine if what it might do for others! Talk about being of service! Books, blogs, songs, movies have all saved my life a zillion times over and if as a writer I can do 1/10th of that for someone else then it’s been more than worth the late nights and hand-wringing. I concur with the below comment about National Novel Writing Month. It’s a blast! Unlike Michael, who is also my brilliant cousin and writing group co-founder, I have never reached the 50k word goal. But it doesn’t matter. I’ve gotten so much out of it! It really does instill an endurance and practice that is truly awesome. Maybe we should all do it together this November!

  2. I gave birth to my novel a while ago, as you know, but it’s about to leave the nest and strike out on its own, and I worry about it. Will it make friends? Will it play well with others? I was dying to get it published, and now I’m reluctant to give over the “control” of keeping it locked in a drawer. Luckily I have more fear around it than any of my characters do, so I try to let them do their thing… 😉

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