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Writing Is Hard

February 3, 2014

Steve Martin, a playwright and stage actor who I understand has also done some film work, once declared that writing is easy. If only it were so.

As readers may know, I came to acting late. But I came to writing early. I made up illustrated stories before I knew how to write, and continued writing throughout my youth. I became defined by it, and most of those around me expected it to become my career — in high school, in fact, I edited both the literary journal and the student newspaper.

By college, though, I found that while my skill for essay writing and nonfiction was improving, I was losing my ability to tell stories — to create a narrative and tell it in a compelling way. My ability to craft a clever phrase lent itself to the commentary I wrote for some time — and to the professional work I would do — but I found trying to write stories harder.

Despite my lack of theatrical experience, I entered a short play competition in college, submitting an earnest anti-war one-act that was so bad that to save face after the audience spent most of the show laughing, I pretended it had been intended as a dry satire. I also wrote a novel in college, but it was dry and pedantic. Every job I have had for the past 15 years has involved writing in some form, and I do it successfully, but fiction now eludes me.

After my discovery of theater, I did take a playwriting class, and felt I did well in it, but I have so far been unable to get beyond the 10-minute structure. Even a one-act is elusive. There are a couple of stories I would like to tell — or at least themes and subjects I would like to explore — but I fear I may lack the talent or drive to do so.

Peter Sig

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Branden Scott Stewart permalink
    February 3, 2014 9:03 pm

    Writing is magical-I love working on original works, because the authors have so much power, and can create so much magic.

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