I've been writing/researching/writing play #3 of my Shakespeare trilogy for weeks now. Four scenes came pouring out of me, the frame scenes and two parallel scenes on either side of the equation. And just as I was thinking (and, unfortunately, saying) that this play was writing itself, it stopped.
I was almost in a panic. This has never happened to me before. All of a sudden, I was sketching out mechanical scenes, all of them based more on conveying information than on portraying real characters in action. Fortunately, these were tentative outlines. I didn't "work up" any of the scenes I was suggesting to myself on my long yellow pad. They felt wooden.
But now I believe I've figured out the problem. I have been trying to "get this play written." For me, this is a bad sign. My focus should be on the work, telling the story, enjoying the work and being playful with it, finding within the chosen sequence of events the scenes I would like to SEE if I were an audience member. Doing the research with possibilities for interesting little discoveries that will determine the coloring and texture of each scene.
Finding the fun and the pleasure, that's how this play will be written. It won't write itself. I will write it. And I won't be satisfied with dead scenes that merely move the plot along. I'm back on course now, not by adopting a new methodology, but by a new attitude. I am giving myself permission to take things more slowly, to relish them, and enjoy the writing as ideas come to me. And they will come. They've already started, now that I've stopped trying to drag them out of their beds and throw them up on the stage. This is when it starts to get good, when it starts to feel good.