Writing books is the easy part. Selling books is more difficult.
I'm learning a lot about marketing and selling books, but it can get really overwhelming. I need to always have a creative outlet, and lately that's been plays.
Normally, I write plays for middle school aged kids. They're fun, silly, and weird, and I really enjoy writing them. I usually write them for my students, so I have an idea of who will be playing what part* and when the performance will take place.
*Confession: I've written parts for certain students before. They can be such a great source of inspiration.
This time, I am writing something different. A play for adults. Nothing quirky or fantastical. It's all based in reality - which is a definite departure from the norm. It's still funny, maybe a little dark (like most of my writing), and completely different from anything else I've written.
I have no plan for it. I'm not sure what will come of it (if anything), but I really like it. It's been a nice distraction from marketing headaches. I find writing plays so relaxing, and I'm looking forward to the next steps. Hopefully, I'll see it on stage some day.
I have one other project that I'm currently working on - in addition to the numerous other projects on pause right now. My daughter is always asking if she can read my books. Considering the content of my books, the answer has always been "not until you're older."
One day I was clearing out my bookshelves, and I found an old proof copy of a YA book I wrote. It was actually the second book I ever wrote. I liked it, but I took a break from writing for a little while and kind of forgot about it. I switched publishers and didn't think about it again until my girl wanted to read my writing.
It needed some work. My writing has definitely improved in the last eight(?!) years, and I wanted to give my girl my best work. So, the project I am mostly focused on right now is to revise, re-format, and re-publish my second book. I talked to my cover guy, and he is working on a gorgeous new cover for it. Really hoping to have it ready for her birthday.
Last night was the first performance of The Christmas Spark, a play I wrote and directed for my after school theater group. The cast is composed of students from 3rd-8th grade, and it's been a crazy rehearsal process. We had five rehearsals. Five. Most of the kids are young and new to theater. For some of them it was their first play. They did a great job, and the show went really well. I'm very proud of them. They're little professionals.
We have one more show tonight, and I know some of them will be experiencing their first post-show let down. Last night, I watched another first.
The best part of being in a show is being backstage. Hanging out and getting ready for the show. The whispered jokes backstage during the show. For many of them last night was a completely new experience. I am usually running sound or lights during a performance, but I was backstage for this one. I got to watch them from across the stage, and it reminded me of my first shows. It's so much fun, and I love being able to provide that experience for kids. It's one of the best parts of my job.
I'm looking forward to tonight's performance. This has been a very fun cast, and I am excited to have so many new and talented students. Any time I start to stress I have to stop and remember how lucky I am. I love what I do, and I am so grateful for that.
Em is a writer, theatre director, and hiker. She likes mixing horror with magical realism and adding sci-fi twist.