Time and again, the thing I find myself coming back to is Nina’s speech to Kostya at the end of The Seagull:
”I think I know now, Kostya, that what matters in our work – whether you act on the stage or write stories – what really matters is not fame, or glamour, not the things I used to dream about – but knowing how to endure things. How to bear one’s cross and have faith.”
This is it. I think that the most important thing for a writer to have, to develop, is resilience: the ability to endure. Your work may be lauded or derided, talked up to the heavens or turned down; most likely (or at least what seems to matter most) it’ll be the latter. And each time you have to pick yourself up and carry on. And in a smaller, and less dramatic way, a lot of the time it’ll be a battle even to sit down at the computer each day – but you just have to do it. You have to find within yourself the capacity to endure, to bounce back, to carry on to – (to quote the words of another playwright whom no doubt someone else will cite as their pearl of wisdom) fail and fail again and each time try to fail a little better. And you have to have, or find faith: because despite all of the friends and directors and literary managers who can try to help or offer praise or advice or criticism, at the end of the day you’re on your own. No-one can write your play but you, and you must keep your own sanctuary lamp, keep following your own northern star.
For the Royal Court: Leaves
Other theatre includes: Notes to Future self (Birmingham Rep.), Guardians (Hightide).