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Should I do 31 Plays in 31 Days this year?

Every year since 2012, I have participated in a playwriting challenge called 31 Plays in 31 Days, where you write a play of at least one page in length every day for the month of August. The focus is on encouraging generation, with as much rein to be creative and free of restriction as possible. In the past I've found it extremely useful, whether for simply generating new work, building up my portfolio of ten-minutes, or making progress on larger pieces I wanted to get drafted.

August is right around the corner, so I find myself with the option of putting myself to the test again. But I'm wondering if it's the best use of my time. Right now it's not terribly useful to me to just be writing random new scenes-- I have enough projects already planned on I'd rather be devoting my time and energy to. The obvious move in that case is to use 31P31D to force myself to make progress on one of those projects. That's basically what I did last year, when I mostly focused on getting a complete draft of Base Instruments, and it proved to be very effective.

Last year, however, I'd spent the previous several months plotting Base Instruments out and making an outline of the events. I believe structure is very important and my work tends to involve a lot of plotting, so figuring out the shape of events beforehand is really necessary to my process. Right now I don't have that prepared for anything I want to work on right now. Well, except for my Robin Hood-inspired heist show pilot. But I'm two-thirds of the way done with that right now, and I'm aiming to have it completely finished by the 8th, so it wouldn't provide me with much to work on for the month.

The other thing I'd be thinking of working on this year is the fourth Mrs. Hawking play. But as I said, I haven't been able to do all the extensive plot structuring and outlining I really like to do before I actually draft. I don't know if I'd be ready to actually write many scenes for it by August. Plus that piece is going to involve a lot of historical research beforehand anyway, which I definitely have not had a chance to do. So I don't know if I can manage that.

The other alternative is to change the nature of the challenge. I could decide to hold myself to a different standard, such as doing X amount of writing-involved work for a piece for each day of August. I've been reluctant to do that, as I said when I was pondering this last year around this time, because it's harder to measure and quantify, and it's very difficult to display results of any kind. I kind of like having a little thing I wrote to post every day.

I'm not sure. I really do like doing the challenge, as it's been useful for me every year so far. I'd love to experience that kind of productivity boost again, but the circumstances may just not be right for it this time. Maybe I'll do it anyway because it makes me feel good, or maybe I'll decide it will take too much time and effort away from more productive writing work. Haven't decided yet.

About Me

My name is Phoebe. I'm Boston area theater professional and English professor focused in writing, acting, directing, and modeling. I'm known for having lots of interests, lots of opinions about those interests, and a very high estimation of the value thereof. This blog is for talking about whatever's on my mind, from my daily life to my activities to musing on any number of abstract topics. Thanks for taking the time to read.

My productions:

Upcoming Productions:

MRS. HAWKING part 2 and 3

at the Watch City Steampunk Festival 2016

presented by The Chameleon's Dish

Vivat Regina
by Phoebe Roberts

at 2PM


Base Instruments
by Phoebe Roberts

at 6PM

Saturday, May 13th 2017
at 274 Moody Street, Waltham, MA

Other Achievements:

"The Tailor at Loring's End" screenplay
Quarter Finalist in the Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Competition 2013

"Adonis" screenplay
Top Ten Percent in the Bluecat Screenwriting Contest 2015

Latest Month

April 2017


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