How to Alchemize RESISTANCE When Creating a Solo Show

This month’s Soaring Solo blog focuses on
This month’s Soaring Solo blog focuses on "How to Alchemize RESISTANCE When Creating a Solo Show."

[NoHo Arts District, CA] – This month’s Soaring Solo blog focuses on “How to Alchemize RESISTANCE When Creating a Solo Show.”

“Art begins with resistance – at the point where resistance is overcome. No human masterpiece has been created without great labor.” -Andre Gide

As a solo theatre coach and director, I face solo artist’s resistance every single day.

Resistance has many faces and it can manifest in a multitude of different ways. Sometimes it looks like refusing to commit to a date on the calendar for the world premiere of your solo show, or even pencil in a coaching date to work with your director. Other times it can look like missing deadlines for writing assignments and festival submissions, or appear as an unwillingness to memorize and rehearse your script. At times, it can show up as suddenly having a problem with nearly ever member of your creative team, and then production has to come to a halt. 

However it reveals itself, one thing is certain, resistance is always a part of the process of creating a one-person-play. 

While coaching someone through their resistance might be frustrating for me at times, ultimately it is a very good sign. Resistance signals to me that the solo artist is really tapping into something real, something scary, and something transformative.

Transformation is terrifying.

Transformation requires stepping into the unknown and surrendering to the creative process. The creative process is messy, nonlinear, and intuitively led. This can be highly triggering for those of us who like to pretend we have control over our lives. 

Allowing in true transformation means writing that monologue you are certain will leave you friendless with its provocative message. It means sitting down to meditate, going to 12-step meetings and scheduling a few therapy sessions because you recognize that this is the season to go deeper than you ever have before. It means stepping into the shoes of the characters in your story with integrity and empathy even though it would be so much easier to just judge their worldview. It means being willing to let the show show you what it wants to be and what it wants to say to the audience rather than trying to control the outcome with intricate outlines, plot points and playwriting structures. It means booking the theatre before the script is finished and letting that fire blaze your trail forward. It means putting yourself out there on social media and in email blasts inviting people to come see you naked on stage emotionally, and maybe even physically. It means investing in your art because you want to believe you are worthy of taking up space, time, and resources. It means saying the thing you’re not supposed to say. It means recalling that memory you’d rather keep buried. It means trusting another person enough to bring them onto your Creative Team and take care of your creative baby. It means being willing to become a different person when you walk onto that stage opening night then you were when you sat down to type your first word onto an empty page many, many months before.

Solo artists always think this work is about the final product, the solo show, but it’s not. This work is about the journey you take when creating the solo show and who you become because of it.

Solo theatre often requires the artist to dig deep into their painful past, take risks in their present, and bravely imagine a powerful future worth living in. It is confronting work. It is healing work. And everyone I have ever worked with, who is willing to see this process through to the end, experiences an evolution of self that truly could not have taken place any other way. 

So, how do you alchemize your resistance and let it lead you to a masterpiece rather than stop you in your tracks?

Here are five steps to transmute your resistance. 

  1. Recognize resistance when it appears.

If you start to notice that you are not finishing the homework your coach gives you, you are not carving out time on your calendar to write and rehearse, you are having a personal problem with nearly everyone on your creative team, you are judging your writing so much that you just keep being blocked, you are flaking out on meetings, showing up late or not at all, unwilling to invest your resources, keep rewriting and editing to the point of nothing ever sticking around long enough to be memorized or stage, or a myriad of other questionable behavior during the creative process; it is more than likely that Resistance has reared its ugly head.

  1. Know that you are not alone in your resistance.

After you recognize that Resistance has arrived, take solace in the fact that you are not alone in this experience. As I said above, basically every Solo Artist I have ever worked with has displayed some form of resistance at some point in the creative journey. Allow that reality to bring you comfort, and understand that this is not only part of the process, but it is also a strong indication that you are on the right path.

  1. Feel the resistance and do it anyway.

Resistance is probably not going anywhere permanently. So, let it pull up a chair and make itself comfortable. Because you now understand that Resistance is undoubtedly part of the process of creating a solo show, and knowing that deep down you want to keep this commitment to yourself, decide to feel the Resistance and take action anyway. This means continuing to write, rehearse, perform, produce, and advertise even though it will likely cause fear, anxiety, sadness, anger or a multitude of other challenging emotions. It is not going to feel good all of the time, but they call it growing pains for a reason.

  1. Call on your support system.

Echoing the sentiments of step #2, keep reminding yourself that you are not alone and therefore do not need to do this alone. In fact, it is nearly impossible to do it alone. Enlist friends, family, 12-step tribe, creative community, your therapist, Higher Power, even your fur babies to lend their support during this time. Identify the people you can call to remind you that your story is worthwhile, offer you some tough love to do the work required to get it all done, be a listening ear when you just need to vent or process the hard feelings and traumatic memories that come up along the way, or be a shoulder to cry on when it all just feels like too much. These will also be the people who are clapping the loudest from the front row when you take your bow on opening night. 

  1. Channel your resistance into the work.

I have seen artists channel their resistance into fabulous antagonists or bad guy characters in their solo show scripts. I have witnessed solo artists use their resistance as a roadmap into which self-help books they need to read or which spiritual curriculum they need to step into. I have seen them transmute their resistance into relatable monologues, evocative marketing campaigns, dance numbers and song lyrics. Your Resistance is coming up for a reason, so rather than shoving it down, or letting it stand in your way, invite it to come out and reveal itself and ask it how to best utilize it for your growth.

I hope today’s blog has given you some comfort, some insight, and some tangible next steps to face your resistance and maybe even befriend it as you create and share your One Person Play.

Please continue to persist along on your solo journey. It may not be easy, but it is so worth it!

Jessica Lynn Johnson

Founder & CEO of Soaring Solo LLC

Enjoy these Solo Theatre Resources to further guide you on your solo journey!

Tune in and Support the Soaring Solo Community as we share our stories from stage!

Award-winning director and developer, Jessica Lynn Johnson, hosts a slew of powerful solo show script readings and full staged productions addressing various impactful and inspiring topics.

This enticing lineup can be found by CLICKING HERE FOR MORE INFO.

Start writing your own solo show one Freewrite at a time with “FREEWrite Friday”!

This month’s Soaring Solo blog focuses on "How to Alchemize RESISTANCE When Creating a Solo Show."

Join BEST NATIONAL SOLO ARTIST WINNER Jessica Lynn Johnson for FREEWrite Friday!

Utilizing thought-provoking writing prompts, Jessica will lead you in writing exercises that are sure to assist you in the development of your solo show.

A one-person-play is not typically written in one fell swoop. Rather, the Soaring Solo Methodology teaches that the creation of solo art is much like that of creating a Mosaic…one beautiful piece at a time.

All that is required to attend this inspiring event is a willingness to explore, having a pen, paper, or some other means of capturing your thoughts, the ability to access Zoom, and signing up on this page as your official RSVP.

We look forward to having you join the Soaring Solo Community in this event because your story matters!

CLICK HERE TO RSVP and obtain the Zoom link and password.

Attend the Soaring Solo FREE One-Person Play Development class ONLINE!

No matter where you are in the creation of your solo show, idea phase, curiosity phase, full draft written, touring the festival and college market, BEST NATIONAL SOLO ARTIST & Founder of Soaring Solo, Jessica Lynn Johnson, will meet you where you are at and take you to the next level! All that is required to attend is a willingness to explore, a pen, and some paper. No previous writing or performance experience necessary, and no need to have written anything to bring to class. Each week Jessica will guide you in exercises to help generate and stage NEW material! So come and meet other creatives in a supportive space for expression and exploration! The class is ongoing and so you may pop in and out as you please as long as you RSVP by clicking here for this FREE ONE PERSON PLAY CLASS.

Schedule an Online Coaching Consultation with Jessica Lynn Johnson to discuss the possibilities for your solo show!

Jessica brings her 15+ years of solo theatre expertise to work privately with solo artists from all over the world on an as needed basis.

A 1 on 1 consultation is for you if…

-You are curious about creating a solo show, but you need writing prompts to help you generate material.

– You are tossing around ideas for your solo show, but you need some accountability and encouragement to commit those ideas to the page.

-You have already written some material, but you need expert feedback on editing, story structure and play formatting.

-You have a great first draft, but need guidance on how to utilize multimedia and solo theatre technique in order to make your show a dynamic piece of solo theatre.

-You already premiered your solo show and now you want some tips on how to tour colleges and festivals, and garner accolades and great reviews!

-You have heard great things about Jessica’s work and you’re curious about hiring her as a Director & Developer for your solo show, but first you want to feel her out and see if she is the right fit for you and your project.

Wherever you may find yourself on your solo journey, Jessica will help you overcome whatever immediate obstacle stands between you and your solo success.  

If you resonate with many of the things on this list, then take the next step by emailing for more information.