Our Editor, Jennifer Richards, has taken up the challenge to write a play in a month as part of our #WrAP initiative. And with Week Five done, we’ve come to the end!
And just like that, we’re finished – #WrAP has wrapped itself up!
In some ways, January felt like the ever-lasting month (five Mondays are WAY too many…) but, when it came to #WrAP, there still never felt like enough time.
And despite all of the ‘advice for writers’ articles that recommend getting up at five in the morning to write for a few hours before going to work, I thought it’d probably be best not to subject my housemates to a considerably sleepier, crankier me and to instead finish the month with two thirds of a draft rather than a complete script (plus several more hours sleep).
But I’m pleased with the two thirds of a script #WrAP’s left me with, not because I believe it’ll be the next Shakespeare, but because the story I choose to write was one I always wanted to, but had just never felt ready to.
This is because it’s a much more personal piece, being my first full length script focusing on disability and the identity issues involved in my experience of disability (I also added robots into it, because every story needs robots).
I didn’t suddenly get the courage to write this story when January 1st struck; what actually happened was I panicked and realised I had no ideas, so finally decided to tackle this one.
It feels great to end the month with words on a page I never thought I’d get round to writing, and creating a story I thought I’d always be too afraid of telling.
As with all scripts, the plot hasn’t ended up exactly as I thought it would. Characters that the story now couldn’t survive without originally seemed insignificant, and a throwaway comment near the beginning later became a major plot development.
The biggest thing #WrAP’s taught me is the importance of being open minded when it comes to writing, and to allow myself to write something that’s, well, just a bit crap. Because not every word has to be perfect – at least not in the first draft.
Scribbling anything down to fill in a blank (even if it means just writing: ADD IN CONVERSATION HERE!!!) stops writers’ block from settling in and me wasting days just staring at a blank page – as I think we can all agree, when it came to #WrAP, there were no days to waste!
My health also took a pretty serious knock this month which, in turn, took a pretty serious knock on my writing. But having Kimberley’s #WrAP emails pop up in my inbox – filled with great prompts and tasks I wasn’t well enough to do – didn’t make me feel guilty the way I thought they would. They actually made me feel excited knowing I had lots in store when I felt well enough to start writing again.
Because it’s okay to stop sometimes, in fact, as my mum likes to remind me, it’s necessary to take a break. Necessary for your health and necessary for your sanity. Just as long as you start again.
That’s what my #WrAP experience has been: not writing a whole play in a month, but learning to be a bit more forgiving to myself when it comes to writing. Both in terms of getting things down on the page, and in giving myself room to take a break.
Going into this month, I’m still using that #WrAP adrenaline to keep writing the script. I’m incredibly thankful to Kimberly and #WrAP for reminding me of that creative buzz you feel when you’ve got a story at your fingertips that you just know has to be told.
I’d love to know how #WrAP went for you, both the successes and the things you’ve been struggling with. Tweet us at @LDNPlaywrights using #WrAP2018 and let me know.