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Write like nobody's watching

When I have trouble motivating myself to write, I use a lot of tricks to get myself to do the work. It's why I keep extensive charts of what I've written, because I get satisfaction of making the note. It's why I design benchmarks for myself I can be proud of hitting. And it's why I post things here to my Livejournal. The opportunity to present them in some small way, with the possibility of getting positive feedback, often encourages me to finish something just so it's in postable form. This has really served me, particularly when combined with challenges like 31 Plays in 31 Days.

The downside, however, is sometimes I get too caught up in the "presentation" part of it. I get fixated on what it will look like, how somebody might perceive it if they read it. Usually this isn't a big deal, but every now and then I'll hold back in some way, or chicken out when writing something so it doesn't seem "ridiculous" or "too much". I particularly worry about my pieces coming off as "self-indulgent"-- as in, written in a way that subverts storytelling, character, and drama in favor of gratifying my own feelings in some way. I tend to refer to that phenomenon as "writer masturbation" and hate how it usually produces things that are of no interest to anybody but the person who made them, bereft of any greater artistic value.

But sometimes that fear makes me hold back so much what I write has no impact, no intensity, no BITE. I can think of a couple pieces specifically where my fear of going too far has kept me from taking them anywhere. I think, at least for certain pieces, I need to relax into the idea of NOBODY NEEDS TO SEE THEM BUT ME, and give myself permission to experiment. Pushing myself to write something I could very well end up scrapping is tough for me, as I despise wasting effort. But I think I need to just see where my ideas might take me and not worry if they don't work. If it's holding me back from really finding the right level, I think I need to throw caution to the wind. And telling myself nobody needs to see them but me if they suck might help.

Posts from This Journal by “writing” Tag

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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