I’ve just finished writing a collection of short dramatic sketches which will be performed as my new Christmas show, “MORE Tales of Wonder: Another RLT Christmas,” this December.
My immediate reaction to the pieces is rather muted. I don’t know what to think about them, and I’m sure I don’t really know what I got in these pieces.
When I compare them to last year’s “Tales of Wonder,” they don’t seem to be as good. But I have to remind myself that my opinion of those is tainted by their live performances which were exceptionally well received last year. The real question is: what did I think about last year’s pieces before we produced them?
This is one of the most difficult parts of the writing process, knowing what you have after you’ve finished. Of course, different people will assess them in different ways, so I’m mainly writing at the wind here, trying to understand a process which is mainly incomprehensible.
I’ve found that most writing consists more of a workman effort rather than heavenly inspiration. There were very few “ah-hah” moments in writing these, most of them being slowly whittled away with version after version until the storylines and characters become more visible. This is probably one of the reasons why I feel nervous about these. If they lack inspiration, will they not be inspirational?
That’s not the way it typically works. Writing is about plowing a the field, planting the seeds, and slowly cultivating the crops; hoping that the mature plant will produce a strong yield. But there are no guarantees in writing (as in farming). You just have to do the work, put in the effort, stick with what has worked in the past, and then leave the results for others to assess.
Do I think we’ll have a good Christmas show this December? Based on track record, yes. Based on these rough scripts I’ve been writing in July? I don’t know.
Are they good enough? They are never good enough. But you still have to stop and move on to something else. That’s what writers do.