The last blog I wrote talked about my goals for the summer. One of the big ones is writing my first screenplay. This is in anticipation of teaching a class this fall entitled “Drama Writing.”
I figured that I would start by reading one of my textbooks and visualizing how I would write my chosen story in the new format. And as I read the book I will be sharing with students this fall, and started trying to decide how I would structure the script, I suddenly got scared.
I have written lots of novels: almost 20 at last count. I can talk about it and almost write one in my sleep. In other words, I have the format down.
Writing a screenplay is another matter.
It’s ironic after spending a semester talking to students about “embracing the fear” and “going to that place deep inside that borders on embarrassment,” and “getting out of your comfort zone,” I find that I am reluctant to leave mine. I could blame it on the fact that I am several decades older than them, but the reality is simply that I am very comfortable doing what I have always done. And that’s where the majority of people live.
I know deep down that broadening my horizons is good for me. And even if the screenplay is a piece of junk, I know I will learn something in the process. Finally, and most importantly, doing this validates me in the eyes of my students. I refuse to ask–require them–to do something that I can’t and won’t do.
And so I know I’ll be spending a few mornings sitting at my computer, staring at a blank screen, wondering what I do next. But that in itself is commiseration with the student experience.
And as I tell those in my classroom, if you are serious about being a writer, you never stop being a student.