Day 70 Risk: Teach Playwriting

We each had workshops to teach at camp and for the last two years I’ve taught playwriting.

Truth be told, I’ve never written a play.

I feel like such a hypocrite teaching this class. Even though I taught it last year and am not completely braindead about how to write a play, I still feel like I’m lying to them, giving them advice from an angle that I know very little about.

I tried to focus on exercises for things I do know: how lonely it is to be a writer, how hard it is to self-motivate, how being a playwright means letting go and not getting too attached to your vision. We focused on the elements of a story and the job of a playwright. Then I sent them off to work, bringing them back toward the end to read each others scripts in a staged reading fashion.

The kids seemed to enjoy it. I got good feedback directly and later when I read evaluations. But I still feel like I cheated them in some way.

I guess the real risk in teaching this class was accepting that I’m qualified to do so. I still have difficult saying I’m a writer, can feel my mouth turn to sandpaper and my inner critic laugh whenever I go to say the words. The hubby constantly reminds me that if I write then I’m a writer. But it still feels false.

I think I’m still searching for the validation that comes with publication. If it’s in print and people can buy it then it must mean something right? But what if that never comes? Will I ever feel worthy of the title?


One thought on “Day 70 Risk: Teach Playwriting

  1. It is becoming increasingly clear to me that THE most essential tool in the kit of any artist is self-validation. The very audacity of it, so often imposed on us from others, is an exercise in risk…but, nevertheless, without it, the success we deeply hunger for will forever elude us. I’m going to teach acting. Do I have a degree? No, I do not. Do I plan to get one first? Nope! What I’ve got, darling, is fucking passion and ten-plus years of solid experience and the audacity to believe that I have something to offer that people want. If Tennessee Williams had waited around for validation from the world, who the hell ever would have heard of The Glass Menagerie. He’d have spent the rest of his life in that God damned shoe factory! Greg’s right – you are a writer if YOU say you are!!!

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