The Young Dramatists Issue 1
Kait Kerrigan: Dear Writer

Inspired by Maria Popova’s beautiful book The Velocity of Being, we’ve scattered letters of encouragement from some of your peers across the country. We hope their words bolster you through your drafts, readings, productions, and reviews.

Kait Kerrigan. Photo credit: Jenny Woodward
Photo credit: Jenny Woodward

Dear Writer, 

There will be days when you forget why you ever wanted to write theatre. If you’re lucky, you’ll have enough rejection letters to wallpaper a bathroom. If you’re not, you’ll have enough to wallpaper your entire home. When you want to quit, go back to basics. Find solace in a deadline (even if it’s self-imposed). Give yourself a commission (the fee could be a cupcake). Turn your computer off, find a blank piece of paper or treat yourself to a brand-new notebook, get a pen, and write. It’s hard to delete when you write by hand. Whatever you cross out is still there. It forces you to move forward rather than go backwards. Put a timer on or make the deadline especially ridiculous (write a whole play in a week, write a song in a day). When you get stuck, don’t quit. Change locations. You will say, “This is garbage.” Tell yourself to shut up. Whatever you do, keep your promise to finish. The sense of accomplishment will be profound. The cupcake will taste like victory. Then, turn your computer on. Type out your chicken scratch. You’ll edit as you go. You’ll shape and discover. You’ll find—knowing the ending—that you can mold it with more clarity than you’d expect. You might even say, “This is good.” Cobwebs cleared, you’ll be able to say that you finished something new this week. You’ll return to your calendar filled with Opportunity and its evil twin Rejection, and your shoulders will be a bit straighter, your inner writer roots a little stronger, and you will be better equipped to weather the coming deadlines, rejections, and the sweet rare blossom of acceptance.


Kait Kerrigan
Kait Kerrigan

is an award-winning lyricist, bookwriter, and playwright. Though her writing has been rejected an uncountable number of times, she’s had two off-Broadway shows. Though she’s been writing professionally for well over a decade, she is often called “emerging.” She has an uncountable number of projects “in development.”