Over the summer, I spent a lot of time writing.
And by writing, I mean this:
“I’m writing a play,” I told my friends and family members. “You can read it soon,” I assured the curious ones. But really, I was just sitting around and picturing the act of writing in my head.
Not a huge amount of my time was spent actually writing, though.
Fast forward a few months. I’m in the full swing of the school year. Now, I have to write. All the time. Be it academic or creative, every day I’m writing something.
A deadline makes writing a very different experience. I simply don’t have the time to dissect a few sentences for an hour, then scrap it and close out. I can’t save it for another faraway day. I have to just do it.
I realized something. Somehow, despite all the short plays, the countless fragments, the notebooks filled with drabbles and ideas, the novel’s worth of prose I’ve created over the years, a part of me still thought I was faking it. I thought I wasn’t a Real Writer.
It was a little cycle in my brain:
I didn’t write
which made me doubt my ability/passion
which made me question why I’m doing this
which made me feel like a Big Fake
so I didn’t write.
Part of it was my confusion on how to say what I needed through my work. How do I put my activism into my writing? Part of it was mental exhaustion, especially after talking to myself in circles about how to put my activism into my writing. Part of it was plain old self-doubt.
And then, the thought occurred to me: Maybe I should listen to those advice articles and write through the ick.
And THEN, I realized that I might benefit from stepping back every now and then and looking at it as a dramaturg.
So I did. Partly because my classes demand it of me, and partly because I chose to. It was the best thing I could have done for myself.
Step one, write through the questions and uncertainty.
Step two, put on your dramaturg hat and treat it like every play you haven’t written. Get more ideas from that.
Step three, WRITER’S BLOCK DEFEATED. Keep writing.
Now that vicious cycle from the summer has turned into this weird blend of self-doubt and confidence. Yes I hear you, mean voice telling me I’m wasting my energy, but also, have you read this? I wrote it!
And now, IT’S SO MUCH EASIER TO WRITE. Now when I say “I’m writing something,” it means “I’m writing something,” not “I’m laying facedown on my desk in agony.”
It feels incredible.