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Why Do You Write For The Theatre? — July 27, 2017

Why do you write for the theatre?
A Playwright, a Lyricist, a Composer?
What gets you up in the morning to begin?
What keeps you up at night, because the words or melodies in your head won’t leave you alone?
What can interrupt any moment of any day, just so you can jot something down?
Why won’t they leave you alone? What have you done to insure that you will always want to write?

Can you define why you write? What drives you?
If you can you will be on the road to a long and satisfying career, whether amateur or professional––or somewhere in-between.
If you cannot, then don’t bother.
Dedication and commitment are the two things that are necessary for any writer, let alone a writer of theatre. (Or should that be a ‘wrighter’ of theatre?)
Your answers to these, and other questions will help you keep going when either the writing or the re-writing is getting tougher and tougher.

You are just like an actor/character in one of your plays. That actor/character has a goal––an objective. It has to be strong. Personal. Motivational to keep him or her interesting and productive on stage. That same something can keep you going even when you want to quit!

  • Do you merely want to express yourself through the medium of drama/theatre?
  • Do you want to explore new ways of doing and thinking?
  • Do you want to inform an audience of theatre-goers, or even readers?
  • Do you want to propose new ideas, or solid older ideas in a new way?
  • Is it the beauty in life, or the trials of life that you want to expose?
  • Do you want to change lives?
    Then keep writing! You have at least the correct questions that you are asking. Get as specific as you can when you provide answers to these questions. The more narrow and pertinent your answers are, the more likely you are to not only keep writing,and writing well, but to succeed at it.

 

  • Do you want to see your name in print? In lights? On a marquee?
  • Do you want to rub shoulders with the elite?
  • Do you want to leave your mark on the theatre?
  • Do you want to be in control of the words on your page?
  • Do you want to sit back and wait for the fat royalty checks?
  • Do you want to be famous and looked up to?
  • The stop writing and get a job.
    I am not saying that all these things cannot come with the life of writing for the theatre — they certainly can — but they will never keep you motivated to churn out scenes and songs, scripts and scores, attending endless rehearsals with interminable re-writes, day after day.What are the rewards?
    Certainly there is the satisfaction of getting it right. The trust you engender in others when you persist. The occasional ‘yes’ as you submit a play! The reaction of an audience to some of your favorite moments in your play or musical. The reading of your play. The Premiere Production of your musical. The licensing agreement!
    Believe me — these are results that can keep you going. However, when these results are still in the future, what can keep you going? Your thoughtful and honest answers to the questions above, along with any others that you may want to ask yourself.
    You know yourself better than anyone else! Write every question down on a piece of paper (on a computer screen) FIRST. DON’T ANSWER THEM — YET! After you have about 12-20 questions — then start going through them and creating truthful, workable, motivational answers.
    Post them around your workspace.
    Tape or glue them to the inside of the folder of the script or score you are currently working on.
    Post-it note them on your computer desktop?
    Or on a post-it note that you stick to your monitor!
    Or on the bulletin board behind it.
    On the mirror in your bathroom.
    On a kitchen cabinet where you keep your most often eaten foods.
    On the fridge!
    Give yourself every chance to succeed by asking yourself the right questions and asking them often!

Thanks for reading! Thanks for listening!

© 2017 by C. Michael Perry ALL RIGHTS RESERVED