You are hereMonthly archive / November 2011
You wrote a full length play. 1 Play in 30 Days. Woot! I think a dance is in order. Haven't you always wanted to do one of those football victory dances? You earned this. You worked hard and you made it across the finish line. Honor your accomplishment and bask in the glory. It feels awesome. I swear.
Here's what you do. Upload your play here. You'll find directions about how to do that when you click the link.
Why do I need to do this you may ask?
We just ask that you complete this final step so we can verify that you finished. Your play is your property. Uploading doesn't give us the rights to your work in anyway. If you want your play to be made public on the site, you'll need to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you'd like to do. Your fellow Rhinos do enjoying reading what you've written, but it's your choice whether you share your work or not.
Plays will not be visible until everyone has uploaded their work and I've actually archived the plays.
If you have any questions, feel free to email email@example.com or you can post a comment below.
Relax. Celebrate. Treat yourself. Victory is yours!
P.S. You can acknowlege your achievement with a 2011 Naplwrimo badge.
Very approp advice from Elizabeth:
Write like a Motherfucker.
Sometimes swearing is needed.
And do know that no matter what, you all won. You know why? You all dedicated yourself to this quest and you are still in it. Even if you didn't get the page count done, you cultivated a habit, hopefully made some connections, and are still writing.
There's still most of a day left. You would be amazed at how you can build Rome in a day in your writing!
I know it's not Death of a Salesman, but it's done. If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, I definitely appreciate the feedback. I'm going to try to find a place to at least get a table reading.
Dear Rhinos, Remember me? I'm the crazy one who created Naplwrimo because I wanted to write a play, not a novel-though I thought Nanowrimo was a very cool idea. Two years ago I stepped back from running things around here and Elizabeth and Toni stepped up, because they didn't want the project to end. So here we are and I'm so happy to see so many of you here, writing plays. Though I'm not writing plays much these days, I still write daily. This morning, the gods of writing made me write this and it occured to me that it might be of inspiration to you as you finish up Naplwrimo. So... here is to you and to the 75 pages you can surely write by Midnight tomorrow. I won't wish you luck because you know that's got nothing to do with it.
Write until the ancient ruins no longer crumble at your tears.
Write until there are no words left.
Write because you have nothing else.
Write because you could be doing everything else.
Write with your fists in your mouth.
Write until you finish the coffee.
Write until the clock says 12.
Write until the bird outside lands on the feeder.
Write until the kids wake up.
Write until the phone rings.
Write because most days you don’t.
Write because most days you won’t.
Write because it’s sexy.
Write because you’re bothered.
Write because you said you would.
Write because you haven’t used up all the words yet.
Write because someone who loves you told you to.
Write because you love yourself. Write for hatred.
Write for pain.
Write for joy and peace and all the goddamn clichés.
Write to occupy yourself.
Write while eating leftovers.
Write when the coke machine is broken.
Write when it’s too cold to run.
Write when it’s too warm to sleep.
Write because it’s not your turn to change the diaper.
Write because your grandmother would have wanted you to.
Write for freedom and power and all the bloodshed.
Write for revolution.
Write for the fish and the butterflies and the wolves.
Write so you can meet everybody. Write so you can fall in love.
Write so you can wear a cape.
Write so you can hang out in the North Pole.
Write so you can lose the map.
Write so you become the river.
Write to your heart’s desire.
Write so you are not alone.
Write to repair broken bones,
Write like you’d punch a wall,
Write to stop the nausea.
Write in charcoal,
Write in blood,
Write like the clouds that make shape,
Write double rainbow all the way.
Write avocado, margarita and pamplemousse.
Write like the clouds that make shapes,
Write like a dreamcatcher,
Write like a Rorschach Test,
Write like an encyclopedia.
Write like an African folk tale.
Write like an Irish drum,
Write like a Passion Play.
Write like Toni Kushner,
Write like Toni Morrison,
Write like Bad Religion.
Write like the Great Wall of China.
Write like the Space Needle,
Write like the Eiffel Tower.
Write like a cancer,
Like a fallen tree,
Like burnt metal,
Like soft steel.
Write on Satsuma peels, hospitals floors, chicken wire and subway stations.
Write with a clown nose on,
Write in hiking boots,
Write wearing nothing but a hat.
Write like a pregnant lady,
Write in a tiny book,
Write on the breasts of babes,
Write even when you’re wrong.
Write with the TV on,
Write to infinity,
Write to remember your dreams,
Write to ignore the future.
Write to forget the now,
Write to be more mindful.
Write to listen more,
Write to pray for sick,
Write to blame the rich,
Write to stop preaching,
Write to avoid politics,
Write to chew on this,
Write because it’s right.
Write so you can,
Because you can
This is it. The final hours. A few hearty souls crossed the finish line early - last week. A few trickled in the past few days. Fellow Rhinos abroad finished yesterday. There are now less than 24 hours remaining (NB: What?!!! There's another 24 hours!) Write like a Motherfucker. That's the best advice I can point you towards. Forget about this challenge and commit to writing. Your writing. Your practice as an artist. Your life as a human being on this planet. Today and tomorrow and everyday. Bring it on.
Use your remaining time well. What would you like to accomplish today? This isn't about the pages. How would you like to finish? Visualize it. And then do it. My goal today is to get as much of what's in my head down on paper. If that means I have to do it in 10 minute sprints, that's how I'll do it. My time is limited today so I have to see what I can fit in. I'm thinking I'd like to write across the finish line - that's 12am PST for me. But however it comes, I want to have a good session of writing today.
Write Rhinos! Take a deep breath and push on.
A link from Solarcirclegirl:
Lemony Snickett with some reverse psychology. http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/pep/lemony-snicket
Struggling with your novel? Paralyzed by the fear that it’s nowhere near good enough? Feeling caught in a trap of your own devising? You should probably give up.
For one thing, writing is a dying form. One reads of this every day. Every magazine and newspaper, every hardcover and paperback, every website and most walls near the freeway trumpet the news that nobody reads anymore, and everyone has read these statements and felt their powerful effects. The authors of all those articles and editorials, all those manifestos and essays, all those exclamations and eulogies – what would they say if they knew you were writing something? They would urge you, in bold-faced print, to stop.
Clearly, the future is moving us proudly and zippily away from the written word, so writing a novel is actually interfering with the natural progress of modern society. It is old-fashioned and fuddy-duddy, a relic of a time when people took artistic expression seriously and found solace in a good story told well. We are in the process of disentangling ourselves from that kind of peace of mind, so it is rude for you to hinder the world by insisting on adhering to the beloved paradigms of the past. It is like sitting in a gondola, listening to the water carry you across the water, while everyone else is zooming over you in jetpacks, belching smoke into the sky. Stop it, is what the jet-packers would say to you. Stop it this instant, you in that beautiful craft of intricately-carved wood that is giving you such a pleasant journey.
Besides, there are already plenty of novels. There is no need for a new one. One could devote one’s entire life to reading the work of Henry James, for instance, and never touch another novel by any other author, and never be hungry for anything else, the way one could live on nothing but multivitamin tablets and pureed root vegetables and never find oneself craving wild mushroom soup or linguini with clam sauce or a plain roasted chicken with lemon-zested dandelion greens or strong black coffee or a perfectly ripe peach or chips and salsa or caramel ice cream on top of poppyseed cake or smoked salmon with capers or aged goat cheese or a gin gimlet or some other startling item sprung from the imagination of some unknown cook. In fact, think of the world of literature as an enormous meal, and your novel as some small piddling ingredient – the drawn butter, for example, served next to a large, boiled lobster. Who wants that? If it were brought to the table, surely most people would ask that it be removed post-haste.
Even if you insisted on finishing your novel, what for? Novels sit unpublished, or published but unsold, or sold but unread, or read but unreread, lonely on shelves and in drawers and under the legs of wobbly tables. They are like seashells on the beach. Not enough people marvel over them. They pick them up and put them down. Even your friends and associates will never appreciate your novel the way you want them to. In fact, there are likely just a handful of readers out in the world who are perfect for your book, who will take it to heart and feel its mighty ripples throughout their lives, and you will likely never meet them, at least under the proper circumstances. So who cares? Think of that secret favorite book of yours – not the one you tell people you like best, but that book so good that you refuse to share it with people because they’d never understand it. Perhaps it’s not even a whole book, just a tiny portion that you’ll never forget as long as you live. Nobody knows you feel this way about that tiny portion of literature, so what does it matter? The author of that small bright thing, that treasured whisper deep in your heart, never should have bothered.
Of course, it may well be that you are writing not for some perfect reader someplace, but for yourself, and that is the biggest folly of them all, because it will not work. You will not be happy all of the time. Unlike most things that most people make, your novel will not be perfect. It may well be considerably less than one-fourth perfect, and this will frustrate you and sadden you. This is why you should stop. Most people are not writing novels which is why there is so little frustration and sadness in the world, particularly as we zoom on past the novel in our smoky jet packs soon to be equipped with pureed food. The next time you find yourself in a group of people, stop and think to yourself, probably no one here is writing a novel. This is why everyone is so content, here at this bus stop or in line at the supermarket or standing around this baggage carousel or sitting around in this doctor’s waiting room or in seventh grade or in Johannesburg. Give up your novel, and join the crowd. Think of all the things you could do with your time instead of participating in a noble and storied art form. There are things in your cupboards that likely need to be moved around.
In short, quit. Writing a novel is a tiny candle in a dark, swirling world. It brings light and warmth and hope to the lucky few who, against insufferable odds and despite a juggernaut of irritations, find themselves in the right place to hold it. Blow it out, so our eyes will not be drawn to its power. Extinguish it so we can get some sleep. I plan to quit writing novels myself, sometime in the next hundred years.
You can learn more about Lemony Snicket’s writing here.
This is is--the final two days. I hope you guys are all doing well.
Just keep going. You have five minutes? Write on that envelope over there (stuff it in your pocket so you don't lose it). You waiting to pick up the kids? Dig out that permission slip you still have to sign and write on the back of that (just don't forget about it and then give away your writing!).
You see, there's always some time. It might not seem like a lot, but a lot of little five minutes of writing can add up to a whole lot.
GO! GO! GO! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!
Basically finished. Needs to have some revision before submission. I will try to find a place for a table reading before trying to get it into production.
Our final Rhino Burst comes from Marisela Treviño Orta. I met Marisela over the summer, but have enjoyed reading her blog posts for awhile. I'm inspired by her work ethic (she has admirable & stellar work habits) and her enthusiasm for theater and playwrighting is contagious.
This is it. Cue Chariots of Fire.
Ya know, the thing about the Chariots of Fire theme song is even though it conjures up this image of crossing the finish line, it’s in slow motion. At least that’s how I imagine it.
And I imagine there are plenty of playwrights out there trying to finish their plays in these last days of November who feel so close yet so far away from their own finish lines. You may be fighting to get there inch by inch, or rather, line by line. Or, if we continue with this running analogy, you’ve hit the wall and find yourself praying for endorphins to kick in and carry you on a wave of euphoria over the finish line.
I have to say, writing-related endorphins have only kicked in AFTER I’ve accomplished something, after I’ve had a breakthrough. But getting that breakthrough, accomplishing what I once thought was almost impossible doesn’t always come easy. In fact, it usually is never easy. That’s the real work of a writer: to make it past those doldrums, to solve the problems we’ve created for our characters (and ourselves) and to finish what we’ve started.
Now, while I am not currently participating in this month-long exercise (I have a good reason: I’m working on two plays with deadlines that hold me accountable to two different theatres), I know what you are going through dear playwright. You see, one of the plays I’m working on I had to write in a much shorter span of time than I’m accustomed to. Technically I had all summer, but other writing projects and…well, procrastination whittled down that time frame to one month.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: there’s nothing like impending doom, I mean, a deadline to get you to write.
Now, you need to know that usually I take my time when writing the first draft of a play. I mean months. Months! But this past August I had no choice but to write the first draft of a play so that I could take it to a September retreat where I would share it with my peers.
I remember the home stretch of that play. I had a gaping hole in the narrative near the end. You see, I tend not to write linearly, so I already had my ending written. But like I said, there was a gaping hole in the shape of a blank white page staring back at me from my laptop.
It was Chariots of Fire time and I was running in place. I didn’t feel ready. Not ready to finish the play, to write the penultimate scenes that would fill that gap in the narrative. This was unfamiliar territory for me. Like I said before I usually take my time to write a play so this shortened time frame was forcing me to write.
I had to tell myself: just finish. Just write. The ideas are there, even if they are kind of fuzzy.
I had to tell myself to remember that this is just the first draft. It doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, it can be imperfect. It can bring up questions. It can leave you wanting more. Because the truth is I would have the next six months to keep working on the play, to flesh out the scenes, do rewrites, edits, etc. And you dear playwright will have more time with your play. There will be second and third and possibly more (several if you’re like me) drafts of your play that you can continue to refine or rewrite however you choose.
But keep in mind that this month’s challenge is not just about getting you to write a new play. It’s about challenging yourself as a writer, about pushing yourself beyond your own writing limits.
Because it’s when we’re challenged that we grow, that we are forced to develop. And in the end this experience will provide you with a frame of reference so that in the future when you find yourself faced with a writing challenge that seems impossible, that requires you to venture into new writing territory, you can look back on this past November and recall how you raced against time, against writer’s block, against the odds and crossed that finish line.
And remember, whether you cross it at a full sprint or at a crawl the important thing is: you finished.
Best of luck!
Marisela Treviño Orta is a San Franciscan poet and playwright. Her first play, Braided Sorrow, won the 2006 Chicano/Latino Literary Prize in Drama and the 2009 Pen Center USA Literary Award in Drama. Her other plays include: American Triage, Heart Shaped Nebula, The River Bride, Wolf at the Door and Woman on Fire. Marisela also writes a literary blog: Variations on a Theme (http://www.xanga.com/mtorta). Follow her on Twitter at Twitter.com/MariselaTOrta.
4 Days from the finish line. The thing to remember is that a lot can happen in four days. You can make a discovery that unlocks that tricky part you've been beating your head against the table trying to work out. FYI: beating your head against the table doesn't help. This from someone who has beaten her head against the table regularly. Try tapping lightly. It shakes things up just enough.
There is still time to pull this out and cross the finish line. That's what I'm saying. Last year I wrote Act 2 of my play in about 4 days (this was not during November). Then I spent about 3 months refining it (even during performance) and am still refining it.
"Write like a terrorist just busted in and threatened to kill you all -- like you have a semi-automatic machine gun at your skull." - Ken Kesey
This is the quote I'm living by right now. See I have an unruly play on my hands. I'm at 40 pages (which always seems to be where I get hung up). There are just so many issues I'm having with it - the primary one being should it be a play at all. But I've decided that it doesn't matter. I'm going to take the next four days - I'm going to look at them as a gift - and I'm going to write unquestioningly, as if my survival depended on it.
How did it go for you this week? What was your struggle? What was your success? What will you do with the next 4 days?
And while we're at it. Take a moment and congratulate yourself for coming this far. For staying in it and showing up. Take a breath and keep writing.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
There's nothing much else to say after this. Yes. All of it.
Naplwrimo runs on love, sweat and your generous help.
Thank you to our donors!
Machelle Allman, Holly Arsenault, Will Bond, Karen Chandler, Michael Lee, Leslie Liautaud, Jeff Mackey, Maggie McAleese, Marian McNamee, Marla Porter, and all our anonymous donors.