I called my first session at my first D&D about how to survive as a playwright in a culture where funding is poor and the writer often at the bottom of the payment pile. How can we ensure we have time to write while also paying the bills? Or maybe it is impossible. This discussion raised several interesting talking points especially looking at the impact on the 'new' writer trying to gain momentum. We also talked about writing opportunities and the process for sending work into theatres.

Some of the comments offered included:
* Can we encourage the 'triple bill' show - a headline act i.e. an established playwright has their show on at a particular theatre but also showing are two or three short works by 'new' writers. Perhaps the funding can therefore be spread a bit more on the struggling writer!
* Information is improving and out there in interviews and podcasts but can established playwrights be more transparent about how they sustained their career especially in the beginning? What's the reality?
* Push! It was noticed how at the start of the session, participants were female or transgender. Perhaps this is because male writers push more for the opportunity to be paid?
* Adding strings to your writing bow - what else can you do? Can you teach writing, run workshops in schools etc to supplement your income but still stay in the writing field?
* Be strategic about the opportunities you submit your work to - is it worth the time and effort?
* Perhaps ACE funding should more target 'new' writing.

Solutions included:
* Persevering with ACE funding. Also mentioned was the Arts Council's Time to Write scheme.
* Collaboration and network-building, including submitting to shorts nights to widen your network. A resource called London Playwrights Blog was mentioned as a useful source of upcoming writing opportunities.
* Pursuing the writer-producer model.
* Crowdfunding/Kickstarter campaigns.
* Lateral-thinking on funding sources e.g. do the themes you are writing about or the audience you are writing for lend itself to pursue funding with particular organisations?
* Mine listings directories (available at libraries) such as the Writers and Artists Yearbook which lists grants and funding bodies. Also mentioned was something called the Jerwood micro-bursaries.

We also talked about looking after yourself also being really important - how's your morale and emotional state? This is where a holistic approach to your career can help. One contributor talked about meditation and spiritual growth also being part of being resilient as a writer.

The session concluded on an upbeat note with contributors feeling positive about sharing their experiences and having ideas going forward into making careers sustainable.

Thanks for stopping by!