An Acceptance Letter
I know. This isn’t the notification you were hoping for. Heaven knows how many of these playwriting opportunities you’ve sent your play off to, and I can only imagine how many rejections you’ve gotten. What have those rejections looked like, dear Playwright? Did they look something like this?
Thank you so much for submitting your play to our festival. With a record number of projects submitted to us this year we had to make many difficult choices throughout the process…
Have you stopped reading at this point of the letter? After all, we already know how it goes. The next words are always something along the lines of:
We wish we could offer…
If we had the resources…
Do they encourage you to keep writing and keep submitting? Do they tell you that they appreciate your voice and that it’s no reflection on your writing that you weren’t selected? Do they invite you to see the plays who were just a little better?
How many dozens of those do you receive? How many hundreds over the years? How many thoughts rush through your brain that always end with you questioning your talent as a playwright? Do you question their taste? Do you get bitter seeing those same names pop up and wonder if this whole game is rigged? Do you start going to those dark places and question if it was something outside of your control? Was it the MFA? Was age a factor? Was it because of…? But we can’t dwell in that dark place. We can’t.
I know. It’s so difficult. It’s easier to go to that dark place and let that bitterness take over after so many rejections. You’ve worked hard on your play. You spent hours and hours making a beautiful drama. You spent so much time trying to make the jokes land. This craft is an unrequited love and every submission a love letter that goes unanswered. You just want a chance.
Just once you want someone to find the letter in the bottle you threw out into the ocean of submissions. Just once you want to feel like this whole thing is worth it. Just once you want to see your hard work pay off.
But it has, dear Playwright. Your play has already been accepted. It was accepted when that specific story was written over all the ideas that pass through your magnificent mind. It received the ultimate dramaturgical assistance when you went over each scene painstakingly. It had amazing actors on the job when you read each role out loud. It had the best agent when you became that play’s advocate and believed in it so much that you sent it out there.
What does rejection mean to a play so totally and utterly loved? What do their opinions matter when you’ve taken the steps that others can only dream of taking? You’re already so far ahead of so many others. You created a piece of art. An artwork that survived all your doubts, edits, rewrites, and frustrations. You did it.
What more acceptance and validation could one ask for in the pursuit of our craft?
I know, dear Playwright. This isn’t the acceptance letter you would have liked, but I hope it helps in the meantime while you wait for that email or letter you’ve been dreaming of.
Hold on. Keep submitting. The love you’ve given to your script will resonate with someone and they will love that script as well. So much of this is more about endurance than you realize.
And if nobody has told you yet…
I’m so proud of you, dear Playwright. You’ve done an amazing thing. You’ve written a play. Thank you for your hard work. I can’t wait for others to read it and produce it soon.
With love to your play,