Wednesday, March 13, 2013

#WriterWednesday: The Primal Blueprint of Writing

So this week I wanted to share you with a template that I'm adopting for my writing routine. For a long time I've fallen in love with a new kind of exercise/lifestyle plan called the Primal Blueprint. It has done a lot for me in the realm of becoming more fit and healthy. Well I was wondering if there could ever be such a thing as a Primal Blueprint for Playwrights. If we could distill everything about writing into it's basic elements what would it mean to revitalize our craft? And since the Primal Blueprint  deals in a straightforward weekly routine here's my idea of a weekly writing routine.

The Playwright's Primal Blueprint

  • "Scribble" Constantly: Everywhere you go you should have pen and paper to be writing down ideas, favorite overheard lines, characters you meet, or titles. I call this scribbling or jotting. The head of my Grad Department is always saying that a writer observes the world for meaning. This is what jotting is...finding those bits of meaning in a chaotic world.
  • Write Daily: My hero, Neil Simon, kept a strict goal of three pages a day well into his retirement. Other professionals state that writing at least three pages longhand everyday wards off writer's block. So whatever goal you set for yourself (3-5 pages a day) and in whatever form you see it in (longhand or typing) the daily routine is key!
  • Work on Scenes: Two to Three times a week you should be trying to work on a scene or two. Take those scribbles and pages you've been writing everyday and start building them into the basic building blocks of a play (i.e. scenes) 
  •  Recenter/Revise: Once a week you should be revising what you've written and recentering it to work as a whole. This is also a time where you check out other drafts and see what needs to be done to take them to the next level.
  • Sprint: This is something that most playwrights will say is unnecessary but go with me for a second... At least once a week (or periodically) try to write an entire play in one sitting. This could be a simple thing as a ten minute play or a No Shame piece. This could also come in the form of trying to finish a play that's almost done or getting to the act break in one session. You can even make it into an endurance event of trying to write an entire play in twenty-four to seventy-two hours. I believe trying to be fast with your writing and crafting a plot with great characters on the fly shows you how you work and what you NEED to get the juices immediately flowing. 
And that's your weekly look. I'm still trying to figure it out myself so it my change as time goes by. What do you think? Do any other writers out there have schedules like this? Tell me what you think!

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