Art Imitates Art

On Monday I went to my first theatre audition in nearly five years. With such a long hiatus I was a bit nervous that it wouldn't be the same, but just like riding a bike, it all came back to me.  I decided to audition to give myself a break from all my current editing.  I'm sure anyone who has ever gone through serious editing can relate to the creative drain it can create.  I figured a little art in another form might help to rekindle some of my depleted stores.  I got a bit more than I bargained for.

As soon as I pulled into the parking lot, my stomach got the nerves.  Those butterflies that most of us have felt at one point or another.  Not bad, just different.  Immediately, I was struck by how similar this was to starting a new project.  It had just the right mix of excitement and panic.  Yeah, something new! Oh God, can I do this again?

But once we got past all the formalities and it was just me on the stage with a script in my hand, all of the butterflies dissapeared and I was left with wonderful freedom.  In theatre we are given the chance to take a character and breathe life into the written word.  We give the character emotion, movement, motivation.  For those brief moments, we get to live in someone elses shoes. 

Writing can be the same, if we let it.  For the time we are sitting at the computer cranking out words we immerse ourselves into the world of our characters.  We give them emotion, movement, motivation.  All that.  If we give ourselves over to the process and stop worrying about every single word.

After the audition, I felt good about what I had done.  It wasn't perfect and I could see the other talent there around me.  But before I gave head space to doubt and speculation I allowed myself some time to just enjoy what I had accomplished.  I put myself out there and didn't die. :)

That's exactly how I felt when I finished my current MS.  I knew it wasn't perfect; far from it actually.  I also knew that once it was done, I would be competing with a lot of other folks for agents.  But for just a bit, I let myself forget what was down the road and revel in my success.

Then came the waiting.  It was less than a day before I knew if I was cast, but they were some long hours.  I started second guessing all the lines I had delivered.  Was it enough?  Would the director laugh at me and throw away my audition sheet?

And that's how I feel when I send out my work to be critiqued.  Will they like it?  Will they get it?  Did I give them enough?  Will they laugh and fill it with red ink?

The next morning, the truth was out there.  Alas, I wasn't cast.  When you are competing with twenty other ladies for three female roles, the odds are slim to start with. 

And just like that, my manuscripts can come back with enough red ink to light up the night sky.  Details that I overlooked, grammar mistakes, weak word choices.  No matter the reason, my MS as it went out wasn't ready yet.

So is that it?  Do I throw in the towel on my MS or on acting?  Heck no!  I go back to the table and look at all those notes.  Chances are high, the changes will make my work stronger, an one step closer to being ready for query.  And I'll keep going to auditions because we only lose when we stop trying.  Rejection is good for us.  I'm sure when I query there will be plenty of rejection letters.  But the beauty is that I only need one agent/director to like me.  Then the real work starts.