Today is Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh and his brilliant blog. I call the self-doubt voices “The Committee.” I am forming a team to fight them. Guy is leading the charge. Read on.
Quote of the Day: And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. – Sylvia Plath
My play, a swim meet, and one good Guy.
I was trying to think of a good guy to play the part of Nick in my play, Coffee Shop Confessions. I remembered that Guy Kelm was a writer, has done some work with theatre, and he would fit the role nicely. So, I emailed him with a request and explanation of what I was doing. I didn’t hear from him, so I thought he might not have gotten my email or wasn’t sure about it. His kids are on the swim team with my boys. When I saw him at the weekend swim meet, he gently turned me down to play the part, but said that he loves reading plays and would be happy to read mine. Since I just happened to have it with me at the meet, I handed it to him, and let the day progress.
The Y swim meets are loooong suckers. It’s a full day affair. I’d get up watch my swimmers for a few minutes, then come back to my chair, not far from Guy’s. I’d peek up at him as he kept reading my script throughout the day. I thought it was a good sign that he didn’t chuck it under his seat. At the end of the meet, he came up to me and said many wonderful things about my play. I was flattered and thanked him. After he described his impression of the story and how Nick is an important character and what he does to challenge the other characters in the play, I said, “You get it.” (I wanted him to play the part so badly at this point.)
He handed me back the script and said he was really interested in it. He paused and said, “Maybe.”
On Tuesday morning, the self-doubt committee was planning a meeting in my head. I’d just heard that the timing didn’t work for another actor, and I thought this still wasn’t the right time to have my play performed. I put in a call to another actor, then sat down at the piano for a while. Just before I headed out to my weekly yoga class, I checked my email. Guy wrote to tell me that YES he’d like to take the role of Nick. I squealed a very happy thank you! (He probably heard it across town.) Then, went to yoga.
That same week, on Friday evening, I read over my script again, and of course, found places to tweak it. Between picking up my kids, feeding them, and cleaning up, I finally read the last act in bed. The self-doubt committee knew I was tired and that my defenses were down. I still had one more role to fill. As I read Act 3, I started to think it was terrible writing, so sappy. Who would ever want to be in this play? People will role their eyes when they see it.
I said, “Stop it.” (to the committee) I reminded them how Guy was a no until he read the play, then changed to a YES! “Take that, committe!” I told them to get out of my head and out of my bed, it was time for me to go to sleep.
During our first rehearsal, Guy told his story, including that he is a theatre and music major. He is currently a second grade teacher. He really does get my play. When I try to make changes, he tells me why what is there is working. He asks the right questions. He gives me even more insight into the story that we’re telling.
I am so grateful to have Guy on my team. Thank you so much. Your words and your YES are a strong defense against that awful self-doubt committee.
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt: Who’s voice do you hear when you need to fight off the self-doubts?