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.
It's easy to get lost in the big dreams - the major goals - and forget to celebrate the small victories.
Small steps add up, and each one is a step closer to the big dream. The key is to embrace every victory and never, ever give up.
It's time to change my perspective.
Recently, I stumbled onto an article about being a writer, more specifically knowing when you have become a writer. Even after writing several plays and books, I still struggle to see myself as a writer. Because I am too focused on the big goals. Too focused on whether or not I am talented. This article brought up a great Stephen King quote from his book, On Writing.
"If you wrote something for which someone sent you a check, if you cashed the check and it didn’t bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented." - Stephen King
Am I talented? If I go by this quote, the answer is yes, so I'm going to agree with my favorite author and stop worrying about it. Worrying is a waste of energy.
I'm pretty excited because a couple of my plays are being performed around the U.S. An Empress, A Faun, and... Olive Loaf? is being performed in Texas and West Virginia. It's been produced several times before, including a couple productions in Australia. I love seeing different interpretations of my words. It's thrilling. This is one (awesome) version of my script.
One of my self-published plays, The Worst Play Ever, is having it's debut in Illinois. I'm very excited about this one. I love this show so much, and I'm glad others will get to enjoy it. I can't wait to see what they do with it!
Small steps. Big dreams. I am so grateful to be able to share my stories.
Today is the last dress rehearsal for Greedy Greta Visits Christmas Town. I love this show. We had our first dress last night with lights, sound, costumes, and props. It was great. Things didn't go perfectly, but I didn't expect them to. That's the whole purpose of rehearsal. Figure out the problems and fix them before opening night.
I'm very excited to have people see this show. I put it on once before with my middle school students, and it was really good. Now, we have a bigger cast, a budget, and appropriately aged actors for every part. I'm really grateful for my cast. They're all talented and hard working, and hopefully they are enjoying the show as much as I am. They're going to be amazing.
My tech people are amazing, too. It looks and sounds fantastic. I couldn't ask for a better team. They've all worked really hard, and it is so nice to be able to delegate tasks and trust that everyone is going to get it done. Makes my job a lot less stressful.
This show makes me happy. I hope it makes the audience happy, too.
Em is a writer, theatre director, and hiker. She likes mixing horror with magical realism and adding sci-fi twist.