Two minutes before the 31 Plays in 31 Days Challenge ended, I submitted my 31st play.
Rachel Bublitz and I founded this challenge to inspire writers to write 31 plays in the month of August purely to generate more material and to get out of our heads. In the first year, hundreds of writers from around the world participated. This year we hosted our third challenge, marking the second year that I’ve participated as a writer.
Even as a founder who knew the purpose of the challenge was to generate scripts without self-criticism (re-writes come later), I still had to fight against my self-doubts and critiques. I also realized about half an hour before midnight that I wasn’t as far along with my scripts as I thought–whereas I thought I had written 28 scripts, I had really only written 24. Yikes!
As the minutes clicked toward midnight, I started to tell myself to stop writing and just go to bed. But what kind of a role-model would I be if I gave up so soon?
I crammed out as many scripts as I could–modeling them after objects in my immediate vicinity and, thanks to a Facebook comment, my trip to Chuck E. Cheese. Six minutes before midnight, I pushed to complete a typo-ridden yet “complete” script called “Winning” and I submitted all 31 plays before deadline.
Sometimes, success comes in spite of other people’s criticism, disbelief, and negativity. Often, though, we create our own obstacles.
It’s true, I could use a lot more sleep than I get, and I wouldn’t push myself to do a challenge like this all the time, but I wasn’t going to bed within the next half hour, so why not just write?
The image I sometimes call forth at times like these is of the fitness coach standing by shouting for just one more push-up. If you can just go a little further whenever your mind tells you to quit, how much would you be proud of?
Congratulations to all of the writers who participated this year–let’s do this again in 2015!