Working With Writers
Updated: Jun 5, 2020
The process of working with writers is an immensely rewarding one and on that is such a privilege and a pleasure.
What I love most is the journey that the writer goes on, from idea that excites but also terrifies, through the uncertainty of initial drafts, through to confidence in a piece that really reflects what they want to say and how they want to say it.
My place is to help support and guide this journey. It is the writer’s journey not mine, but I can be there to provide some directions when required! Or to help replenish the fuel tanks or clear the pathway to that intended destination.
Very often it is a case of simplifying and focussing on one key idea and taking away the background noise. Almost every writer I have worked with has actually started off trying to write two or more plays in one. As soon as they realised which idea it was that really excited them – the play became much much easier to write. (With the added bonus that they had the idea for second play ready to go!!)
I never see it as my place to tell someone what play they are writing or which bits should be cut or which characters aren’t working. My role is to offer questions and prompts, so that the writer can get a clearer idea themselves of what is working and what is not. Ultimately, the piece works if it achieves what the writer has set out to achieve – that is the only real gauge of success. Sometimes it takes talking to someone new (me!), hearing your ideas from a new perspective, having the right questions put to you at the right time, to help you realise what it actually is that you’re trying to say.
This is, of course, not just the case for playwriting. It is as much the case for writing prose, or poetry or a screenplay. Indeed, sometimes writers will realise through the process that they are actually trying to write a novel not a play. And that’s great! That’s all part of this journey that we go on when trying to tell a story.
I love working with writers because I love seeing the joy it brings to someone when their ideas start to flow, and their creative energy is focussed in a positive and constructive manner. So many of us shut our creative energies down – we don’t feel entitled to be creative or do the things we love. After all, we have to make money, have to support our families, have the food shopping to do, what right have I to indulge in my writing project! But by connecting to these creative ideas we are re-connecting with something that is at the heart of who we really are. It actually allows us to engage with our families and friends in a fuller and more genuine manner, it might make our other responsibilities more manageable and even more enjoyable. Fundamentally, it allows us to embrace more fully who we really are. And that can only be a good thing, both for ourselves and those around us.