What Is Your Playwriting “WHY”?
This week I want to talk about the importance of what I call your “reason why.”
It goes something like this: Most people focus on the HOW. How do you write a play? How do you make it dramatic? How do you approach theaters? How do you get your work produced?
A much less commonly asked question is: WHY do you write plays at all? Why do you want to express yourself through the medium of drama? I doubt it’s for the money.
Few people stop to ask this of themselves, which is a shame–because it’s an important question for two reasons.
First of all, understanding your “reason why” is helpful in maintaining your motivation through the years. When you first start writing plays, motivation isn’t a problem; you’re new to the art, learning more every day, and often easily fascinated. But over the years, that initial surge of motivation can start to wane as the novelty wears off…
But when you have a strong reason why playwriting is important to you, then your motivation won’t wane. Your dedication to your art will remain strong through the years because you will have a powerful, personal reason for playwriting.
The second reason it’s important to understand your “reason why” is because it can help to focus and direct your playwriting. If, after some introspection, you discover that you write plays to expose the beauty hidden in everyday situations…
…then that is something you can use to write plays that do a better job of fulfilling your true purpose. (And you’ll be less likely to be distracted by some fanciful play idea that interests you for only a short time.)
On the other hand, if your “reason why” is to help change public opinions on important issues, then you will be better served to write a very different kind of play.
It’s not a topic people bring up very often, but a lot of good can come from understanding not just HOW to write a great play…But WHY you want to write them in the first place.
I’d urge you to spend some time this week thinking about this. Make sure that the play you’re working on is one that speaks to your true intentions.