It’s safe to say there’s been quite a bit happening at WBN in the last couple of weeks. And only 20% of it has involved heavy lifting. Which is, y’know, a positive step. But in the midst of All Of The Stuff the fact that next week – NEXT WEEK – we’ve got our first Theatre.Jar has crept up on us. But we do! In five days time! And, to hold back on the exclamation points for a sentence or two, in only two days time our group of intrepid writers will be taking part in the Cold Writing workshop and Charlie can stop being secretive about the theme and we can tell you all (I’ve been sworn to secrecy, even though there’s a moderately amusing story I want to blog from the theme-deciding committee meeting).
But, for now, we asked our writers if they’d like to write something for this very blog and (drum roll please) first up we have Caro Dixey, complete with something of an analogy first for this blog…
This is the second blog I have been asked to write about my writing and I can’t help pointing out the paradoxical nature of this task. I’m not sure how to write about my writing, my process, my experience as a writer. If I’m honest I’m dying to take the easy way out and tell you to come and see my work and you’ll know everything you need to know about me as an artist (and you should, come and see my work). But in the spirit of ‘doing one thing every day that scares you’ (advise that should never be ignored) I shall persevere if you will afford me the time.
Without sounding trite or “arty-farty” (for want of a much better word) what I’ve said above is true, anything you need to know about me you can find out from my writing. This is because I can only write with the voice, the opinions, the emotions I have experienced and the challenges I have faced.
That said what I write is not solely the concern of a 28 years old single woman, struggling in the arts. Of course not. I delight in transposing the voice I have been given and the things I have seen, as best I can, into universal issues that will captivate an audience of 75 year olds just as much as an audience of 30 somethings. More over I was recently very flattered by an audience member at a recent play of mine who was most surprised the piece was written by a woman.
I started writing before I can remember: writing poems – “angsty” poems of an average “angsty” teenager. Never in a million years would I have thought I would ever share anything I had written, but now I even share my poetry on my blog.
I decided I had to write for the stage in my third year studying Music with Drama at Anglia Ruskin university as a result of reading Sarah Kane’s Blasted for my contemporary writing module. Now I know that the hype for Miss Kane’s work has long since passed and she became so fashionable that she is now, in fact, terribly unfashionable. However, the 21 year old me read Blasted, read about Blasted, read about Sarah Kane’s dissection of form and content and I began to understand a new way of looking at the world through the theatre, and from then on, I wanted to write for the stage.
It took me a long time to have the confidence to share my writing with the theatre world – despite training as a dramaturg and championing the writing of others for years. I saw my first solo piece of writing at a London showcase last year and this was enough to break free from the shackles of my insecurity and push my writing in front of anyone who would watch/read.
The best piece of advice I was given at the time was:
“Don’t think of your writing as your baby, think of it as sperm – shoot out as much of it as possible and see what happens.”
On the back of this advice I launched a personal crusade (personal because no-one else seems to be getting on board) to submit a piece of writing to a different competition, theatre, agent, writing opportunity anywhere, every single Monday. This is fondly known to my facebook friends and twitter followers as #SubmissionMonday and since I have been religiously #SubmissionMonday-ing I have seen six pieces on my work staged at various London venues this year alone.
And that pretty much brings me up to date. Applying for Cold Writing with Write By Numbers was a #SubmissionMonday affair and I am itching to get started on it. Writing for a brief, to a tight deadline is tough (I recently did exactly this with the fabulous Pensive Federation) but in my experience it can lead to some of the most exciting, challenging and honest work you can imagine. I just can’t wait.
My website is a great place to start for anything else you might want to know about me or my experience as a writer and dramaturg or you can follow me on twitter @carodixey. Otherwise just make sure you are there on 10th July at Babble.Jar – you’ll probably find me in the bar.
(And if you would like to join Caro – and probably the rest of us – in the bar you can get your name on the all important list by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we shall let you in for £4, which works out at 67p per play)