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The mission of Pens & Pages Writers Guild is to facilitate and encourage writers of all genres, to share resources and tips about the writing process and, most of all, to provide a positive and productive forum that will encourage and support each writer in his or her creative endeavors.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Is it stopping you?

Some of you may know that I attended university, majoring in Speech with a minor in Theatre, and was one class -- three credit hours -- shy of graduating. That was seventeen years ago! My catalogue has long since changed and in order to get my sheepskin at this point, I'd have to make up about a year and a half's worth of classes, at this point... Which is a topic for another blog -- namely not this one ;-) but serves to introduce the topic I'd like to blather on about in this post.

Most of the teachers and professors in Ole Miss's Theatre department had all, to some varying degree, been professionals in the field either before, during and/or after their tenure at the U of M and most of them recited a mantra on a regular basis that stuck with me, in me and went through me during my time as a ...ahem... scholar there. This mantra shaped everything about professional theatre that I still, lo these many years, believe to my core... This mantra was the very reason I suffered depression, battled hopelessness and ultimately why I, to this day, do not pursue a career in professional theatre.

That mantra was this: If there is anything -- ANYthing -- you can do and be happy in this great big world other than theatre? Do it. Leave the acting to those who simply cannot do anything else.

I knew there was a love, a passion lurking in the backstage (see what I did there? hee) of my heart... a desire much deeper and longer standing than any other that came before and, save for my husband and two children, still trumps anything else in scope or magnitude in my view.

That thing? Writing. (of course, you knew I was going to say that!)

At the FiW this year, I was reminded of that oft-repeated mantra of my former theatre professors and teachers because -- and don't ask me who, because I can't remember -- someone said it. They said, "If you can do anything other than write, do it, because you probably aren't going to make a living at it."

Now, in university, my reaction to this identical statement was, as I said, depression, hopelessness, and the sure knowlege that I'd never be a professional actor.

My reaction when I heard that mantra repeated at the writer's conference? "Pfft. I write because I HAVE to...doesn't matter if I ever make any money at it."

I hated that mantra in school -- it stripped me of my future (oh, so the drama!) and I bristled at hearing it repeated at the FiW...until I realized, Heh. It had no power over me anymore.

So...I'm not going to repeat that mantra to you today. Instead, I'm going to ask this question... When you read "If you can do ANYthing other than write and be happy, do it."

Is it stopping you?


DJ said...

Solard, I love it! Thank you.

MadeByAmanda said...

You know, I think with certain writers it is an article of faith that your writing must come first, before anything else, to be a True Writer. And I have been struggling with that, because honestly, now that I'm married and have kids (however long I have them for) there are other things that definitely must come first.

And sometimes, I think that the writers that believe that the craft of writing must come first say that in part to excuse their own negligence in other areas.

Solard said...

See, you GET it! Write on! (fist bump)