We donʼt ask much from our ProPath writers, we only ask that at the end of each workshop they complete a script, that is well-structured with characters that are fully dimensional. Make it funny if it is a comedy and make it dramatic if it is a tragedy.
And our ProPath students do it.
Week after week. Assignment after assignment. They write with deliberate progress. At the end of the session, each of our writers will then possess an original script with a title page that declares: Written by.
Our writers make themselves vulnerable by exposing their own quiddities and quirks. They face anxiety because of the blinking cursor. They fight a defensive apprehension knowing that in the weekly workshop, the ProPath professor will look over her glasses and request, “Hmmm, self-critique, please?”
More than all that, each writer at some point will face a single question that expresses a personal fear. Is my writing good enough?
The answer comes as a relief, Yes, it’s good enough.
For a first draft.
So, the rewrite begins.
The next draft is formed by writing night and day. The day writing requires stolen blocks of time from day jobs and daily chores. The night writing requires endless cups of coffee and sacrifice of sleep. But the rewriting is less about the mechanics of structure and it becomes about the truth.
Truth of voice. Truth of conflict. Truth of character. Truth of what? Fear?
Embracing the Fear
That blessed fear that overtakes the writer. Fear from every squishy cell, and from the pulsing heartbeat, as the words go on the page. The same fear that the writer works to tame, that says–maybe no one will get it. Maybe it’s not good enough. And the worst fear of all–maybe Iʼm not good enough.
The act of writing becomes a contract with a cosmic paradox. The deeper the fear. The better the writing. Because at its heart, the best writing is always an exposure. It is the sharing of common humanity sustained through pain. It assures the script reader–the moviegoer–that you are not alone.
Our ProPath writers translate fear.
Achieving the Promise
The writer’s fear becomes a promise.
It is a promise of a wonderful movie with a perfect ending, to be viewed in a dark room–mostly surrounded by complete strangers. Strangers who each paid the price of a ticket so that they could escape or be entertained.
But the purchase of that movie ticket, also guarantees, that as they sit in the primitive darkness, watching the flickering images of light on the screen–their fear will finally be put into a context of meaning.
We donʼt ask much from our ProPath writers, do we? Only all and everything.