Enter Creative Flow by Starting Anew
Sometimes to get to a greater level of creativity, you take risks to find rewards. And I speak from a newfound love of script writing. I just retuned from the 41st International Women’s Writing Guild’s (IWWG) Summer Conference. A member since 2009, I have missed only once to serve as a bridesmaid in my youngest sister’s wedding. This year I went way, way out on a literary limb – a big risk for this poet, essayist, and professional business writer – to create, workshop, and stage my first 10 minute play.
Surrendering to Reality
It is hard not to act like the proverbial kid in a candy store at this gorgeous writers’ conference. I crammed my pockets of time – all five sessions – with courses to feast upon all week. Or so I thought. From a Pose and Pen yoga opener to a food-inspired workshop that spilled into the afternoon offerings of script writing for both stage and screen, and a final mixed-media and writing art class. I wanted it all. The first two days of the script writing classes were brain stormers. But when I began writing for the stage, I stepped out of the banquet line. My schedule collapsed down to writing, editing, and revising the play. Blame it on exhaustion. I thought I could go full tilt, even participating in the evening open mic reading and going out afterwards with friends, then write when I got back to my room. However, my hopes took a cryptic turn when my keyboard hand placement was off and the play’s title read “G:PE” instead of “FLOW”. So I decided to begin in earnest after I slept a few hours.
The Nuts and Bolts of Beginnership
What I learned from play veteran, Kelly DuMar, was script basics, which I applied at warp speed. I shortened the dialogue sequences to make the exchanges more natural. I agreed to the placement of a main character fainted on a chair instead of flat on the floor as it occurred in the actual event. Detailed stage directions got turned into further dialogue. And after workshopping the piece, I didn’t fight the Truman Capotesque move to kill my darlings – silent stock characters – by the instructor. I succeeded in this entire exercise, because I remembered that I was a student and as such was learning to create something radically different from what I typically wrote.
And With the Risk Came the Reward
To see my words leap off the page and take the form of a woman, a student, a dying man on a subway station floor, and a seated group of five instructors whose lessons carried beyond the classroom, left me awestruck. And to hear the audience’s applause as the experimental work came to an end was likened to an alarm clock. It jolted a slumbering part of my creative self. I was ready to venture forth and write and edit more of the same. The reward eluded the risk of failure. And it resonated deeply in my bones that this task had somehow brought me home.
Now It’s Your Turn!
What type of writing have you been putting off? I encourage you to step onto the stage of your heart’s desire and experiment with words. Try your hand at a personal essay. Or compose a poem using a traditional form for framework such as a haiku or a villanelle. Here’s to your creativity when taking on a risk to find your own reward!
Until next time,