Cover of The Dramatist Jan/Feb 2022: The Motivation Issue
A List – Jan/Feb 2022
Image of post-it notes

On Twitter, we asked,  “If you’ve been able to write over the last year, what has kept you motivated?”


Three things: (1.) People need stories; (2.) people need to gather in community around stories, and (3.) the stories we tell right now will reveal who we are, how we failed one another, how we survived, where we found hope and joy, and what we need to move forward.

Jacqueline E. Lawton @dulcia25

Great question! What’s kept me inspired has been other people’s work—monologues, poems, songs—that friends, colleagues, students, strangers, ex-lovers have shared as best they could inside a Zoom box. It speaks to the core of what makes us human: our ability to adapt.

Roland Tec @rolandoteco


I’ve been able to write because I have so much to say about social justice and EDI work and the inequality we are trying to dismantle.

Diana Burbano @loladiana


I wasn’t able to do this for any of 2020, but lately I’ve been able to think of all this at-home time as an opportunity to give myself the space to write that I had kept saying that I lacked. I have it now, so I try to take advantage of it before it goes away again.

Brian Scanlan @BrianScanlan


During the lockdown, there was so much fear and grief in the atmosphere, and I was sick of talking to myself, so I created a hodgepodge of unsavory and valorous people to eavesdrop on.

Ali MacLean @aliontheair


My motivation has been the need to actively process what has happened around me.

Leodis Smith @Delosithism


Writing plays is my best way to understand this shifting world of chaos that surrounds us on the daily

Steven Strafford @StevenStrafford


Lately my plays are stealth love letters to people in my life, past and present.

Deneen Reynolds-Knott @reynoldsknott


Deadlines. Also, what else I’ma do?

Inda Craig-Galván @IndaCraigGalvan


I haven’t been able to until very recently, and I’m so glad that I had this time to learn how to be a person again. My productivity is not my worth. I’ve been nonstop for close to twenty years. Also, a pandemic is not a retreat. It’s a crisis. 

Kari Bentley-Quinn @KBQWrites


What has kept me motivated has been the desire to have work ready for my immensely talented friends and theatrical collaborators as we’ve come back in our various forms. 

Franky D. Gonzalez @Phatthedd


As many of our voices rose up in new, additional ways, some tried to silence us. And this confluence of energy compelled me to write truth to power in new, additional ways, too. It’s been a very enlightening process. 

Christine Toy Johnson @CToyJ


I like problem-solving. My process often involves me f***g myself over—tossing myself off a cliff w/ a spool of ribbon & an old dress. Figuring out how to solve the problem of theatre online or outdoors inspired me. The challenge was living in the distraction of doomscrolling. 

Briandaniel Oglesby @OglesbyOrNotToB


Irealized I didn’t have to apply to writers’ retreats. I could make my own! No application, references needed. Escaped family every three months to Michigan for five days, time spent productively because it was so finite. And right-wing militias successfully avoided! 

Paula Kamen @PaulaKamen


I started zooming with four friends on Friday nights when the pandemic started. A few weeks in, we started reading plays together. Then I suddenly decided to write a play for them. It took me nearly a year but finished it and now we’re planning a public zoom reading! 

Andy Monroe @musicmanMONROE


Having a year without gatekeepers has been extremely liberating. Not applying for applications and opportunities that are likely already predetermined, just writing for the sake of writing because it’s me and yet beyond me. 

Jeffrey Keyes @jjkeyes


I’ve been writing a ton for young performers with one goal in mind: make kids laugh. It is incredible motivation.

Rachel Bublitz @RachelBublitz


The realization that we are not immortal. 

T. Turk-Haynes @ttarahaynes