Working on the 3rd & Falling Back on August


I'm working on the third draft of my all-female Black punk rock band play. I started the process by making a detailed writing schedule. I even have three finish dates on the calendar: November 8th, November 15th or November 20th. But the writing is going very slowly and I'm trying to figure out how to cope with this reality. I thought if I set aside enough time out of my busy life that the characters would appear and tell me their story. 

My big problem is that my head is filled with other stories of plays that I plan on working on next summer. I've sketched out my West End Girls 4-play cycle. Now characters from those stories that take place in the 1970s, 1980s and 2000s are filling my head while the voices of those young women who are dedicated to creating a space for themselves in an art form (punk rock) that some say is not made for Black women are retreating. This is a very mixed blessing for a writer. 

I really want, no I need, to finish a full-length or one act play by mid-2015. I want to be in the game and that can't happen without having a work that is good enough for me to submit to workshops, festivals, competitions, or even use my own resources to organize a stage reading of the play for the public. 

There are a few positives in my situation and I try to dwell on them when I start to freak out about the possibility of not meeting any of my November deadlines. Firstly, I have made positive strides at getting myself to sit down in front of my laptop to write. Secondly, I have a pretty good outline of my West End Girls 4-play cycle. Thirdly, I've wisely realized that if the writing is not happening, then I can use the time to read plays, which I find very helpful. I just finished Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, the third play in the August Wilson Century play cycle. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is a fictionalized account of the recording of the classic Blues song. It's a great play with Wilson constructing huge climaxes at the end of Act One and the final scene. I also think it was an important play for me to read doing this time because it's about music and Black artists.

So right now, I'm working hard right not to fall into a pit of worry. I've even taken the drastic step of officially closing my social calendar until the end of November. That's right if I don't have an activity, event, or meeting already on my schedule, unless it's an emergency -- I'm saying NO. I also decided to forgo my real-time viewing of Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder starring the incomparable Viola Davis which is a big deal to me because Ms. Davis is making television history portraying a complex Black woman. 

I'll stop now and return to trying to write the latest draft of my play.