I believe that like acting, playwriting is a vocation. Growing up pretty catholic, and hanging out with nuns in training as well as young nuns that were my friends, the calling to vocation story was a familiar one where said girl would feel within her soul, the calling within a deep silence to give her life to Christ and his work, and that in that she will find true fulfillment and happiness…That is how I feel about acting and playwriting. NO MATTER WHAT, I cannot escape the need to write–Yet, I must confess I am having a lot of trouble. Sitting and engrossing myself in a world of my own creation is absolutely terrifying and severely uncomfortable.
I clocked this discomfort for perhaps the first time as I was sitting in playwriting class yesterday evening. After struggling through compiling a devised piece into a coherent script for two hours before class time, I felt in my head and as if I was looking out through a foggy lens tainted with the world I was just attempting to transfer from my brain to the page. I realized, that’s just it. Right now in my journey as a playwright, I am uncomfortable…which may mean I am at a precipice of something, because shit always happens when you move through discomfort. That’s what I have learned thus far in my life anyways. This fear, discomfort and hesitation brings back the words of David Bayles in his book Art and Fear :
“You make good work by (among other things) making lots of work that isn’t very good, and gradually weeding out the parts that aren’t good, the parts that aren’t yours. It’s called feedback, and it’s the most direct route to learning about your own vision. It’s also called doing your work. After all, someone has to do your work, and you’re the closest person around.”
“When you hold back, it holds back; when you hesitate, it stands there staring, hands in its pockets. But when you commit, it comes on like blazes.”
Pussy up, embrace the discomfort, ground yourself, and jump. Let yourself be set ablaze and know that you are strong enough to handle your own raging fire. Commit. And make a lot of shitty art.