What Simon Says… 2
When I was asked to write the blog for this site my initial thought was ‘Only once a week?’ surely my life is so exciting and interesting I could write a daily blog - maybe even update it hourly. In reality it’s week two and I’ve got the words ‘World Cup’, ‘sunshine’ and ‘budget cuts’ crossed out on an A4 pad…
I am a little bit distracted at the moment because I’m trying to come up with a 10-minute play for Eddie King’s Unforgettable Tour of the Forgotten which will be at the Tobacco Factory in early August (more information in the weeks to come). When I’m working on ideas for a piece my mind is constantly whirring away and at the moment I’m sat outside a café on North Street catching snippets of people’s conversations hoping there’ll be an interesting topic or turn of phrase I can use; but instead everyone’s talking about the World Cup, sunshine and budget cuts, so I’m going to have to rely on my own imagination.
Much like this blog, knowing how and where to start is usually the biggest hurdle and the advice that is often given is just write, doesn’t matter what you write just get something down and worry about the editing later… Well I’ve tried and I just can’t do it. When I’ve got to write something I tend to do a ridiculous amount of pre-planning - spider diagrams, character outlines, plot graphs - but in reality I know this is my subconscious way of procrastinating and avoiding actually starting. The only thing that really motivates me is a big scary looming deadline. I’ve been writing scripts on and off for over 10 years now and although it doesn’t get any easier I still do enjoy the whole process. I love having random strands of ideas going around my head and then working out ways of pulling them together to create a coherent narrative.
It’s likely the more straightforward and effortless a piece seems the more effort probably went into it. I was reminded about the writing process when I watched a rehearsed reading of Phil Booth’s Dry Spell as part of this year’s Script Space last Sunday. In the post-show discussion afterwards the writer spoke about how some of the themes in the play had been in his mind for years and how events in his life had shaped the play. I was also struck by how audience members picked up on totally different elements/issues within the play and were so vocal with their feedback. I find it slightly awkward talking about what I’ve written so I impressed by how openly Phil Booth talked about the play.
Well I’ve been putting off starting it for long enough and the script deadline is indeed looming very large, so I’m going to put away the graphs and the diagrams and just start writing – I’ll let you know how it went next week.