I feel very lucky that when I was in graduate school at Carnegie Mellon University Milan Stitt invited Tina Howe to be our thesis advisor. Tina had tremendous influence on me and made me feel like a life in the theater was possible for me as a woman and an already not so young one at that. A life changing moment with Tina was when she was talking about her own writing process. She said she writes every day and had been writing every day for 30 years. She said, that way, if the writing is not going well, for.... And she paused and I thought to myself if it isn't going well for a day or a couple of days. And then she continued, if the writing isn't going well for 4 months, it doesn't matter. First, I flipped out. How could you possibly continue if the writing isn't going well for 4 months. Then, I really heard those last three words: It doesn't matter. She taught me in that moment to do the work, you need to be in the work. Milan used to say as well that you are what you do. You are a playwright if you write plays. If you spend most of your day cleaning the apartment, working at other things, repotting plants, you might want to question if you truly are a playwright. Now, I do know that different people have different habits. I know great playwrights who actively hate to write. Some write in spurts. And many, too many, have long dreary day jobs that they have to write around. I'm lucky that I have only a part-time not so dreary day job that involves more writing and integrates well with my practice. I knew when Tina said that that day that I would join her in a long, daily practice and I have. I will confess there is the odd day off most often if pressure to make money has built to a peak, more rarely to truly goof off. The reason is writing is the thing I fortunately always want to do. I get quite grumpy if I haven't had enough time alone at my desk. It is my rhythm, my happy place, my escape, my duty.
1/25/2014 10:31:58 pm
Tell us more! (Unless you're busy working on a play in which case, carry on.)
1/27/2014 10:42:28 pm
What a great blog post! I love reading about your passion to write, it's inspiring.
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Right now, Andrea is either writing, doing yoga, training, coaching or walking Lady.