Write like Theatre

Practice is key. A performance artist doesn’t blow us away on a whim. No one can play a part for an audience unless they’ve played the part before. For the sake of one day’s show, performers practice for days, morning and noon, under lights and beneath makeup. Nothing goes out in one day and turns out successful.

A writer is also a performer. I write copy every day for websites, blogs, ads, and social media. But I never sit down in front of my computer and write the best line the first time. My best writing doesn’t pop out of nowhere; I need a warm up run first. Every day, I need to practice for show time before I dress up. I need a rehearsal, a prelude for what I’d do for the rest of the day. Because for a performer, every day is show day. For a writer, every day is a big day.

It may seem like theatre artists just breeze out and put on the best show of their life. But spontaneity is overrated. What appears spontaneous to the audience is meticulous practice on a day-to-day basis.

Theatre artists must practice every day before the show begins. And a writer must write every day before the day’s work begins. It’s a way to flex those stiff finger muscles and ease into the task of feverish typing that awaits them through the day.

Every morning, I practice on my blog. I write to get my thoughts under control. I write to bring motion back into my palms, to stretch my arms, and to get the shit out of my head. Then I edit. I go back to the first sentence and try to make it make sense. I catch a few typos and add a couple of puns. And once I’m done, I’m confident that I’ve practised enough to do more, and better, writing.

That confidence exudes at show time. Once artists are ready, they can walk onto the stage and put on a great show. Theatre or writer, toiling efforts behind the curtains — away from the world — makes successful whatever’s in front of the curtains.

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