I recently got a wing man. And I’m pretty excited. Everyone should have a wing man. Certainly every writer. This is NOT a writing partnership. We are not writing together, collaborating in anyway. THIS is about being accountable to someone. Having someone read pages quickly. Having someone send you a gentle email, asking “how’s the writing going?” This is about having someone say, “You know, you could do better.”
Mine is Eric Loo. He’s been on this blog before. He’s pretty great. But, he’s mine, you can’t have him.
And it’s not just about the creative side of writing, but also the big ugly business side. We’re talking about submissions, we’re talking about networking. I am really thankful for this. This is where I fall down as a playwright.
And it’s funny, all of these as a playwright and I have never thought of having a wing man before. (I still haven’t. This was Eric’s idea.) I’ve been a part of writers groups, I have writer friends, but they’ve never quite inspired me and pushed me in the same way this has.
I love my writer friends, don’t get me wrong. But, generally, we just get together and commiserate the state of the American theater. There’s nothing wrong with that. More than an enough times we have SOLVED the problems that plague theater… if only someone had taken notes and stopped us after the first round of drinks.
I’m a fan of writers groups. I’ve belonged to a couple, and I am currently a member of the Playwrights Union here in Los Angles. They are very useful in two ways: 1. You are Not Alone–which is the WORST feeling for a writer and 2. A large group of people reading pages or the entire play and giving feedback. This is crucial for a development of a play. Things need to be worked out, creative questions fielded, and being involved with other people’s work.
But what about an artist? An artist needs attention too. And this is where I think the concept of a wing man really works for me. I’m getting the attention that I need. I don’t have to take over a group with my questions, my fears, my anxiety. I don’t have to take over friend time (time best used to solve the problems of the American theater, like I said) with just my problems. With the wing man, I get the me time that I need both with the work and with the business side. I have a partner, and so does he, that I can rely on. To be there. To talk me off the ledge. (And there are ledges.)
I have to admit: I got lucky. Someone brought this idea to me. And I am telling as many writers as I can about it. Get yourself a wing man. Work out the working details of the relationship. And then start kicking ass.