• AJ

Looking Back on 2019 and Forward to 2020

Writing end of the year reviews seems to be the trendy thing to do in playwriting spheres these days, so I figured I’d complete my own self-assessment. This year has also been a banner year for me in terms of financial income from playwriting. Most years I make less than a thousand dollars from prize money or royalties; and while that’s more than I spend on submitting my work or travelling, it’s still far from lucrative, especially considering I have a terminal degree in writing. I doubt many electricians would be satisfied with a thousand dollar a year return for learning their trade. And, of course, most electricians don’t have to beat out 700 other electricians to gain recognition.

But nobody becomes a writer for money. I certainly didn’t. I did it because I enjoy wearing sweatpants and sitting at my desk for countless hours and talking to myself, like a true INFP!

And here were my stats for 2019:

- Royalties: $317.61

- Prize money/winnings: $500.00

- Commission: $4,000.0

-Total: $4,817.61

- Number of full-length submissions on the year: 32 (This was way down. I did almost 80 in 2018.)

- Number of hits (positive responses, semi-finalist, finalist, etc.): 6. This included 2 finalists, 2 semi-finalists, 1 third place, and 1 positive response.

- Rate of hits: 18.7% (This was way up!)

- Number of full-length plays written: 2

- Number of full-length plays started (including those finished): 4

- Number of one-act plays written: 1

- Number of ten-minute plays written: 2

- Number of full-length productions: 1

- Number of staged readings: 3

- Number of plays directed: 2

- Number of plays as an actor: 3

- Number of plays read: 20+

- Number of books read for pleasure: 5 (Western Star, Harry Potter novels, most of How Green Was My Valley... I need to read more books!)

- Number of books read for classes: 10+

Other random stats:

Number of different jobs worked: 5 (office assistant, reading and writing tutor, TOTL (this was actually three separate jobs – acting, directing, and lighting), teaching English 101, snowboard instructing)

Number of miles driving to work: 20,000

Number of hours spent bike riding: 248

Number of walks taken: 50+

All told, 2019 goes down as a pretty successful year. Not only did playwriting help our family financially, but I was accepted into the English graduate program at WVU and met a ton of wonderful people. And while I wasn’t able to focus as much on playwriting as I would have liked due to my studies, I felt more complete as a human being and somewhat relieved of the pressure to succeed through one avenue. Finishing RockStar 270, for instance, was a huge milestone, as was completing the whole first leg of the WV Allegheny Trail in one day.

Looking ahead, 2020 seems promising! I already have one, full-length production lined up in Tampa, Florida, with the excellent Lab Theater Project, and I should have a reading of the play I wrote on commission sometime next year with The Our Town Theater. And who knows what else will happen?

It’s a new year and a new decade. As the character of Prior says at the end of Angels in America: The world only spins forward.

So forward we go!


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