Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Right Words + Right Time = Total Fantasy

Girlfriends, girlfriends, girlfriends! So nice to be back from maternity leave... but, um, yeah, twins, so I'm going to have to keep this fairly short.

Back in 2004, I wrote a perfect one-act. It was for a 24 hour play festival--one of those fun events where you recruit a bunch of actors, a few directors, and a few writers. The writers or given 12 hours to  pen a 10-minute play. The director is given an hour to read it. Then s/he spends the next 11 hours rehearsing the heck out of it, and all the plays are presented to a boozed up crowd of theater goers at the 24-hour mark. 

The opening scene of EVERYWOMAN.
The results, as you might have guessed, vary. But in this case, somehow the stars aligned and in just a few hours, I wrote, EVERYWOMAN, the only work that I've ever been completely satisfied with on the first draft. It went on to net me all sorts of raves, and both a co-production and a full production of my one-acts. I've never even made more than tiny typo and grammar changes to the work. It simply flowed out of me, a perfect little one-act filled with big ideas.

I doubt that will ever happen again. And a lot of becoming someone who makes her living off of writing has been accepting that and more importantly, learning from it.

Writing, I've found over the years, is a never-ending climb, a seeking of heights that you will most likely never reach. And the truth is that you will rarely have the right words at the right time. 

It would be awesome if you did, but really, what will make you a better writer is how you respond to not having the right words at the right time. Learning to write anyway when you're super-unmotivated, or when your creative brain feels like a bog--that's the real pick axe and rope, and exactly what you need to climb the never-ending mountain. 


  1. Welcome back, Ernessa! You've piqued my interest-- how do we get to read this one act play of yours?!

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  3. Great post, Ernessa! And twins--wow--congratulations!

  4. Ernessa, I loved this post. So glad to have you back. And twins??? Not to be unoriginal, but: WOW! Wnjoy every second x2!

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  6. TWINS! Ye gods! I'm impressed you can even think!

    Congrats, on both a great post and the many splendored million act play you will be hotfooting from now on!

  7. Hurray for the twins and the great post! You're a marvel Ernessa. Sometimes I think we do get the right words at the right time, like you got but...but very, very rarely!