There are various phases in the playwriting process, and ones that I’m sure are not unfamiliar to playwrights in general. But for me, there are the few constants, much of which comes from not writing a thing, but simply embracing the time to think, read, absorb, digest and evaluate issues and potential characters before narrowing down what I ultimately feel compelled to dramatize. This is never an instantaneous process, but one that I find myself more and more drawn to. In other words, I don’t kill myself to write, but embrace the time before-and-between writing to simply allow things to accumulate within me. Yeah, I can flagellate myself into writing 10 pages a day but, with equal commitment and no guilt, I often prefer reading a book, seeing a movie, breathing, playing with the cat, walking, making a peanut and banana sandwich, playing the piano, writing a poem, watching Simpsons reruns, etc. For me, there is something to be said for doing little when it comes to writing. This is not to say that I don’t get antsy or impatient with myself for not finding that kernel of an idea or that particular character that becomes the impetus of my inspiration, or channel my frustrations into some other creative form, but the act of not writing I find no shame in because, like anything born, sometimes it just takes time for seeds to bear fruit. Yes, you can call this a sort of prenatal/Zen-like approach but, for Godsakes, just don’t call it “Writer’s Block”, which, personally, I consider a mythological term akin to Unicorns.
As writers, we should take comfort in knowing that the world is our oyster, and that the limits of our creativity and the methods by which we achieve it are limitless. The bottom line is that whatever works - works, and more power to us for discovering what that is!
Ultimately, I take solace in knowing that, despite however long I may be seemingly inactive, my pen will eventually touch paper and, with a certain excitement, I’ll begin creating something other than a grocery list.