I’ve found when I’m feeling tense before a gig, the only cure for it is to do the gig. In twenty minutes, I’ll be feeling different.
There’s a different kind of stage fright for writers. The scary venue is a blank page, and the gig starts when you sit down to fill it.
Unlike live gigs, nobody knows about this gig. There’s nobody there to impress, no friends to egg you on. You can just walk away from it. The person who booked you (you) will understand. Unfortunately.
You won’t tell yourself you got stage fright and chickened out, you’ll tell yourself the dishes needed doing, or you needed to send some emails, or…
How to beat the blank page?
Maybe a way to deal with it is to actually treat it like an actual gig.
Like with stage fright, the only cure for page fright is to do the gig. Like with live performances, when you start it’ll be awful, and then it’ll be awful some more, and then there’ll be moments where it’s not awful and you realise you were learning something all that time you were suffering.
You might actually find these gigs are way nicer than live gigs. At writing gigs, when you’re a struggling open spot, nobody sees. When you start ripping it, you can make it so everybody sees.
(I remember one comic I talked to describing writing as the actual job, and the gig as the drive home after the job…)
Like with your live gigs, the first rule is show up. Regularly. Pull some strings and book yourself for a residency.
Note, I said the gig starts when you sit down to fill the blank page. That’s when it starts. The mission is to sit down and write. Not to write The Greatest Thing Ever. Just show up. The masterpiece will follow.
Don’t leave me hanging!
2 thoughts on “Page Fright!”
This is true.
We’re scared to write new stuff.
Although, in these days writing it’s treated in a very capitalist way.
I don’t believe in writing for the sake of writing.
My brain works in a different way.
I have ideas spinning around for days, weeks, or even years.
Ideas come up as we live.
Too many people sit down writing without having an outside life or even opinion.
Let life flow, and ideas will follow through.
Especially for stand-up comedians.
I remember writing two funny songs walking down the street.
I suddenly started giggling uncontrollably.
And only then I took my phone and recorded melody and lyrics.
My point is:
make sure you have a life (and fully formed opinions!), before you write about it.
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