I’ve been working on a couple of plays for a while now, and I’ve had some issues finishing them. I don’t know if it’s so much writer’s block as much as it is the strange fear that if I sit down to complete them, I can see them going in so many different directions — and that once I pick one, it’s done.
It’s not to say that I can’t rewrite them a bunch of times, nor is it to say that I can’t take one of those many directions and start riffing on a new idea. But there’s something weird about seeing a project you’ve spent so much time on come to an end.
One night last December when I went to see a collection of one-act plays put on in Fullerton, I met a man who is the father of someone who used to be a client of mine.
I’ve written about him once or twice before, and he couldn’t be nicer and more helpful along this journey of creativity.
We’ve exchanged a handful of emails and he’s invited me to the playwriting group’s monthly meetings a few times. The last email we exchanged seemed to put us in the same boat.
He was working on a new project that was taking a while because of writer’s block, and I’m still working on two that I need to submit for membership to the group — and that’s taking a bit of my time.
He ended his most recent email with, “Break a leg on your submissions.” It was a simple statement that meant so much to me.
I know that once I finish them, I’ll look back and wonder what took me so long.
Then again, there’s always the possibility that I’ll finish them, submit them and they won’t be good enough. And if they’re not, then there’s no membership to the group. Perhaps that’s what’s holding me up.
I tend to think not — I think I really just need to get after it already. Time to veg less, take a weekend off from gardening and crank ’em out.
After all, “break a leg” can me so much more than a wish for me to write two plays that the board finds good enough for membership. I’ve learned in life that as long as I’m happy with them (and while I’m hoping that membership is the outcome), “break a leg” is a very personal thing, as well.
Tonight I am thankful for, once again, his kind words — and for the reminder that if these two aren’t the ones that pave the way to membership, then at least I’ll know I can actually finish two plays…and then I’ll promptly write two more which will (someday) result in membership.