Tara McKevitt New Playwright Blog

Tara McKevitt New Playwright Blog

January 2012

Be true to yourself. It’s that simple. Writing is personal. It has to be in order for it to connect with the writer and propel them onwards towards a completion. ‘Why else would you be doing this?’ asks Paul Mercier at his workshop.

Why else would you be doing this indeed. The question ‘why?’ is something I ask myself always and often. Why are you bringing this to life? Why are you spending your time, often torturously, pursuing this? Why is it a play and not a poem? Or a novel? Or a film? The question ‘why?’ should always be asked by the writer both of themselves, and their work, Paul advises. I wonder if asking ‘why?’ so often of yourself perhaps hints that it is more of a pain than a pleasure? ‘No. It is a good thing,’ he reassures us.

Who are you writing for, is another question that comes up. I write for myself is my initial and honest answer. I always write for myself and probably why a lot of things I write will never be seen by another human being. Ever. But somewhere along the way I believe that someone somewhere might want to see my work, and I dare to share. It is this sharing that terrifies me. And then the most dreaded question of all I ask appears, what if no one likes this?

Paul answers with a question or two – ‘Do you like it? Are you happy with it?’ And again the logic of the questions soothes. If I write for myself and I like it, then I have achieved what I wanted to do.

Confidence, and lack of it is not something I believe people want to hear about, but as the Abbey workshops continue I find that it effects more writers than I knew and this somehow dissipates my own fears. If even just a little.

Mark O Rowe agrees that a lot of living writers battle with confidence. Getting very comfortable with re-writing helps and is a necessary tool that he believes we should get familiar with. Everything you write is always an improvement he adds.
Billy Roche, also advocates the importance of re-writing, advising to just take one page, one day at a time, and not to be afraid to radically re-write. ‘Be true to the play,’ he says, and adds the now familiar words, ‘and be true to yourself.’

To get to the truth of a story, it has to have a conviction about it. This conviction comes from you, the writer. It is your voice, your heart. As long as you are true to yourself, as long as the work is you, you can’t really fail. Be true to yourself. It’s that simple. It’s that simple, and it’s that hard.

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