Panto season is over and I will be free to catch up with my writing and coursework next week.
I have spent some time reflecting on the experience over the last few weeks and it seems to me that the balance of effort to outcome, of writing time lost to benefit gained, may be a little out of kilter.
Has it helped my writing? Yes, in some ways it has, as I said on Thursday. It has also given me ideas for future scenes and stories and put me in touch with some very interesting people who may be able to help me in the future.
But time is finite and I have to start thinking about where it can best be used. Months of rehearsals and planning meetings have led me to the conclusion that I need to reconsider my dramatic interludes.
I am not a performance poet, or a regular public reader, and I know that I need to improve my presentation skills for readings and to build my confidence in sharing my work. In theory, acting could help with this. However, in reality I don’t think this is the case. Acting (as we do it) is comedic, unpolished and a team effort. It is not refined or professional enough to bring to a poetry reading.
Furthermore, being yourself on stage, sharing your own thoughts, is somewhat different to playing a character and reciting someone else’s words. When I act I feel nervous and embarrassed before going on stage. When I read my own work I feel anxious, exposed and vulnerable. It matters so much more that the two are almost incomparable.
So from a writing point of view I lose more in time than I gain in skills.
On a personal basis I miss writing in those weeks I don’t do it: I don’t have the right balance in life. Acting feeds my need to be creative but not my need to develop and explore my own ideas. It doesn’t fulfil me or challenge me to be better because it doesn’t matter.
I act for fun: writing is a need. If I have any doubt about what I should and shouldn’t agree to in the future that distinction should help!
In other news – after a short hiatus writing group is back soon and the plan for an open mike event is taking shape, so I hope to have more on that next time!