Writing, like all art forms, gets better with practice. And the only way to get better is to do more, which means you’re going to do bad art.
Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers, states that it takes 10,000 hours to be good at a thing.
Playwriting, I think, is this unique animal. You can write alone for hours and hours, but to put on a play, you have to somehow convince actors or a director to put on a show even when you’re terrible, in those 10,000 hours. You need an audience to react.
It’s not an art in a vacuum. It’s meant to be public. That’s why Fringe, and open submissions, and open workshops are important. Every playwright has to sludge through 10,000 hours of writing (give or take) to get to their voice.
In these 10,000 hours we hold onto the hope that we will be accepted enough to hear glimmers of our voice. That’s why this quote by Ira Glass resonates (listen to it here: https://youtu.be/PbC4gqZGPSY)
We know, during these 10,000 hours, that we aren’t very good. We hit send on submissions knowing it’s not the best, but it’s the best we’ve got right now. We get rejected, and we know exactly why, but we keep doing it.
Intrinsically we know, the only way to get better is to keep going, to ‘write the rust out’ as Lin-Manuel Miranda says:https://twitter.com/lin_manuel/status/805705285465731072?s=21
You have to keep getting back on the horse, through disappointing news, through losing opportunities you really wanted, through being told no again and again.
Rejections mean you’re writing and rejections mean you’re getting your 10,000 hours in.
See you on the other side of 10,000. I know it’s going to be killer.