I used to practice bad solitude - avoidance, dread, distraction, fear, repetition and self-loathing. I had no problem getting to my desk every day, but being present, productive and creative while I sat there was another story. Writing is open-ended space-time, an unmapped wilderness, and without some sort of structure, some sort of kind scaffolding, some way of dealing with the part of me that was too terrified to write, I could and did get horribly lost.
Writing a play a day is an exercise in devotion. It is not a a discipline or boot camp, but love and commitment in action, similar perhaps to a mystic’s spiritual exercises - well, we are contemplatives after all. Each day for one month, after some grounding exercises like yoga and meditation and Focusing, I write a play in one sitting. I write at speed, accepting everything that comes without judgement. I write by hand, on scrap paper, and keep my pen moving quickly until a voice or scenario emerges, becomes a play in the broadest sense of the word, and I write until a resolution forms. I end up with a suite of plays, astonishing and confronting ones, some of which have gone on to be performed or become part of a larger work. But more importantly, for one month, I wrote in a way that was inclusive, kind and quick. I practiced showing up and letting go, acceptance and completion, and strengthened the inner muscles of courage and trust. It is not an easy ritual. It requires a peculiar internal stamina and does dredge up your psychological beasties. I am currently completing a doctoral thesis, and the minute it is off my desk, I will do another play a day project to abandon the stranglehold of academic language, return to my love of linguistic plasticity and equivocation and metaphor, and restore a creative playfulness which is all too easy to lose.