What I’m Learning From Climbing Mt. First Draft



Writing feels good but it's also isolating, and that new found knowledge is a little shocking to me. I thought finally getting myself to sit down, be still enough to capture the different voices of the characters that have swirled around me for months would lead to waves of exhilaration, and it has, but there's also a lot of silence.

It's the silence of being alone with your thoughts in a private world of your creation. The silence of living by a weekly schedule that is so strict that your social life is reduced to outings on Saturday evening and small snatches of TV time. I know it's worth it but I feel like I should have known what to expect as I embark on building a career as a playwright. 

I feel like someone should have told me the real work of writing is similar to prospecting for gold in the 1800s. My tools are a laptop computer and silence, and I wander around my imagination looking for the right words to put together in hopes of capturing my characters feelings and truth. 

My personal truth is that people probably told me about the reality of being in the writing arts but I didn't pay any attention. I was caught up in the glamour and romantic ideal of being an artist, so I had no use for talk about the hard work and loneliness that takes over when you are surrounded by silence. There is one artist, Danielle, a photographer, who candidly spoke her truth on the topic in a recent piece titled, 'No one wants to hear this. But I'll say it anyway.' Her words brought tears to my eyes. 

If you are wondering what I’ve learned so far while climbing Mt. First Draft -- it’s that I must surrender to being immersed in silence in order to do the important work of writing my plays. So right now silence and I are becoming very good friends.