Recently a college reached out to potentially produce BURST next year. BURST had been submitted for a previous contest or festival there, and it didn't place or win, but it was still on the mind of one of the professors. It's an exciting and wonderful type of email to get, but then I had to do something that makes my playwright skin crawl…. I had to let them know I had an updated draft of the play, and ask if they'd like to read it before we talk further….
I don't know why this makes me uncomfortable; letting people/theaters/festivals know about updated drafts and sending them along. But it really does. I think it stems from the fear that I may have taken out whatever originally drew them to the play, or maybe that this new draft isn't as strong as what they'd read before, or that it's obnoxious that changes have been made and this might be somehow offensive, or, or, or. The or's go on and on.
But. I did have a new draft. AND I knew I had addressed the things that hadn't gotten me selected before (they had sent notes in my rejection). So, I did what made my stomach churn and asked if they'd like a new draft. This was right before the Ground & Field Theatre Festival. I got an email back right away telling me, yes please send away. I did. They emailed again right after the Ground & Field Festival asking that we talk about a production even more (hooray!). But. By then, I had another new draft. This time I actually didn't even tell them though, we're just figuring out when to talk and I figure hopefully by whenever that happens I will have mustered the courage to let them know a new draft now exists.
It's a quirky anxiety. Fear. It got me thinking about other anxieties brought up through the business or act of writing plays. Other than the obvious ones, like the hearing your words spoken in front of strangers and all that.
So, today I thought I'd list them… Not to gain sympathy, or to complain, or get advice. Just to put them out in the world and share these ridiculous burdens of mine. Because often sharing makes the burden easier to bear. Or at least that's what I'm banking on now…. AND, it's almost Halloween! I can think of no better time to air your fears for all to see.
I hate headshots.
I love headshots.
It's fun doing it, it reminds me so much of acting and I get to put on almost all my favorite outfits back to back.
I hate doing it. I am uncomfortable. I don't know what type of faces people make or have. Why do I have arms now? What are hands for? Why is so much makeup needed? Am I making a good face? Make my face gooder! Oh my god, everything is terrible.
I want to look like myself in my headshot. And like a playwright. And like a badass as well, for sure more cool than I probably am in reality. I do not care if I look pretty.
I have to look pretty in my headshot.
My current headshot is amazing. It looks fantastic and professional. Vanessa Menendez, the photographer, is a genius.
My current headshot is too pretty. There's no way that I am actually that pretty. Everyone will see it, then meet me, and think I am a total asshole. Why don't I wear makeup every day? Why don't I figure out a way to ensure perfect lighting everywhere I go?
No, my headshot is great. I look like that.
What if I get a production because my headshot is so pretty?
I am not that pretty. Calm down. Don't think of yourself as pretty.
But don't think of yourself as not pretty. That is also not good.
The best thing about being a playwright is that you can have your headshot for forever.
Is it time I get a new headshot? I cut my hair. And I am older now by two years. And I am not that pretty.
One of my all-time HUGE fears is that I am a better cheerleader than I am a playwright. That it's 100% the hustle, and 0% craft or talent that gets me anything.
Finding words other than “excited”
I am honestly very excited by all the good news I get. Productions, readings, commissions, publications, etc. It's amazing. And then I write about it here, or Twitter, or Facebook, and OH MY GOD, RACHEL THINK OF A WORD OTHER THAN EXCITED! You cannot always just be so excited about everything.
How many times have I used the word excited today? This week? Month? What about pumped? Can I say I'm pumped? Jazzed? Jumping up and down? Over the moon?
I want more words.
Using too many exclamation points
In emails. Texts. Tweets. Posts. Blogs. Blog titles. Stop! Being! So! Exclamatory! Just! Calm! Down!
Same goes for adding smily faces. Stop.
When people don't email me back, it's because they hate me and I am now dead to them
This one might be the craziest. I'm busy and I understand not being able to respond to every email. Emails fall through my cracks. It does not reflect in any way upon the person sending the email.
But still. Still still still…. I freak out and worry that I am no longer worthy of attention if the person I am writing to does not respond in the amount of time my anxiety has informed me would be appropriate. I try and distract myself by refreshing my email over and over. Oddly, this does not help.
How the hell does publishing actually work???
What would be the best publisher for X play? Should I send it to more than one publisher or wait until I get an answer from each place before moving on? How many productions should a play have before I start sending it in? Will this help me get more productions? Will this hamper my chances to get produced? I just want to hold a shiny printed copy of the thing I wrote! But I should also probably have business reasons for doing this.
And and and.
Why don't I know everything about publishing? I AM A WRITER.
Everyone is just being nice, your pies are not that good.
So…. This doesn't sound like it's about playwriting, but honestly it is. Baking and writing are like the flip of the same coin to me, they're breaks from the other, and what if I do all of this baking and writing and neither are good at all???
There are more. Oh, so many more. But that is enough for this day.
Thanks for reading my probably very silly fears.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some pies to bake…