There is a tremendous amount of outer work that goes into creating a one person play; writing the script, hiring a creative team, assembling your marketing materials, memorizing, staging and performing your solo show, and on and on the to-do list goes.
Yet, we often forget that there is also a lot of inner work that must be done in order to support us along the solo journey.
With that said, in today’s blog I am going to guide you through 3 Spiritual Tools that are sure to improve your solo artistry from the inside out.
“No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.”
Perhaps you have experienced the discomfort or foreign feelings that come up for you when you are still. Yet, if you can learn to be with the discomfort of a still and silent moment, it is often in those moments when you are able to become aware of negative or limiting beliefs that are hindering your creative process. Once you become aware, you can begin to replace those harmful thoughts with empowering thoughts.
These moments of stillness and silence are also the moments in which our clearest creative visions can finally emerge in our minds.
As a recovering Queen of the Busy Bees, it has taken me years to learn that without consistent moments of stillness and silence, the busyness quickly becomes pure chaos, and chaos blocks creativity.
Our busy world, busy lives, and busy minds distract us from seeing the creation that is right there in front of us. Michelangelo expressed this very sentiment…
“In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.”
Your solo story is already within you.
Somewhere deep within, you know exactly what it is you need to say, and exactly how to say it from stage. In other words, your one person play is the “lovely apparition” Michelangelo speaks of that is being imprisoned by the “rough walls” of your various distractions and insecurities.
Isn’t it incredibly comforting to think that your art is already complete? Your assignment is merely learning to get still and silent enough to see the statue in the marble. And let me tell you, that quiet, creative, intuitive Voice will not compete with all of the ‘noise’ fighting for your attention. It will simply wait patiently for you to stop, be still, and listen for it to whisper instruction and encouragement.
Meditation is an incredible device to use in order to achieve this sort of stillness and silence. Meditation is the space in which the mind can empty so that the page can be filled.
Over the years, I have developed my own meditative practice that has helped hundreds of solo artists find the calm they need to create their solo shows.
Please join me and the rest of the Soaring Solo Community for FREE weekly meditation and writing sessions via the link at the end of this blog. Or if you are in the mood to meditate right now, HERE is access to over 80 FREE guided meditations to unleash your solo show on m y YouTube Channel!
2) BE IN THE PRESENT MOMENT
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Having aided in the Direction and Development of well over 100 solo shows and being a playwright and performer myself, I fully empathize with how daunting the task of creating and performing a one person play can seem.
Because the task is so intimidating, we try to control it. We try to get ahead of it. We project way into the future about all that we need to do, stress over how people will react to our shows, worry over what all of the outcomes will be, and we ultimately psyche ourselves out before a single word has been written. This obviously does not serve your creative process. You must become aware of your racing thoughts and future projections, and see them for what they are; thoughts and projections, and not necessarily your reality.
So, when you start to become aware of yourself getting lost looking ahead hundreds of steps from where you currently are at in your creative process, please remember that the beauty of the creative process is that it is a process.
And a process, according to Merriam Webster dictionary’s definition is-
“A series of actions or operations conducing to an end.”
So, trust the process.
Trust the moment you are in. Trust that one simple action in this moment is enough. If you stay present, all else will reveal itself to you one moment, one action, one step at a time.
Yes, along your solo journey, there are a lot of important creative concepts to ponder, business decisions to make, and plenty of hard work to do, but right now, you do not need to have your story written. You do not need to know all of the performance techniques of solo theatre. You do not have to be an excellent storyteller or character actor or writer yet. All that is asked of you in this present moment is to read this blog. That’s literally what is in front of you to do right now.
Once you step into the now, your heart rate slows down, your racing thoughts find a peaceful rhythm, everything feels much more manageable, and you can enjoy your creative process the way you are meant to.
In this state of beingness, you can actually start to hear the Voice of your own guidance. This Voice will always lead you to the next step, and the next step, and the next step after that. And before you know it, you will look back and you will realize you have taken all of the necessary steps to create a sensational solo show!
So, don’t get ahead of yourself in this process, it will only cause you to trip.
Plus, the awesome thing about staying in the present moment is that it will lead you into your future.
3) PRACTICE SURRENDER
“The ultimate act of power is surrender.”
We often mistake being in control with being powerful, yet being a powerful solo artist requires a lot of surrender.
Afterall, there is only so much that you can plan, configure, and orchestrate when it comes to the unbridled nature of creativity.
To a degree, you must allow your creative path to unfold for you and bravely follow your intuition, creativity and imagination as it guides you into unknown territory. Solo artistry is wild, free, transformative, surprising, challenging, and often divinely inspired. Even if you come in with your perfect plan, the solo Muses will usually laugh at your plan, and inspire you with a solo story you never intended to tell.
This is not a bad thing. This is where the magic is. This is where your story is.
This does not mean you do not do all of the work along the way and bring your best self to every moment of this journey. However, it does mean that when your intuition whispers to you to write a particular monologue that feels too revealing, surrender to your intuition and write it anyway. Maybe the monologue won’t make the final edit of your solo show, but perhaps it was a necessary piece to write in order to discover the next part of your story which was the missing piece.
When your gut tells you to play a slew of dynamic characters in your solo show, do not let your limiting beliefs tell you that you cannot play characters. Instead, surrender and write these characters the way they wish to be written. Later on in your process, you can do your due diligence to properly prepare as an actor to learn their posture, their vocal quality, their accent, and all of their other unique nuances.
When you feel led to passionately speak about a taboo topic that is very important to you, do not let fear talk you out of delivering your message. Surrender to the powerful words that want to come out of you and lean into the provocative art your inner guiding system wants you to create.
When your imagination shows you a myriad of amazing technical components to enhance your show, do not immediately judge those ideas as impossible or too expensive. Again, practice surrender, and open yourself up to the possibilities and the exploration of those visions. Trust that finding the right technical team is within your reach.
The point is, stop trying to force your solo show into what you think it needs to become and instead embrace surrender so that your solo show can reveal to you what it already is.
I truly hope that these three Spiritual tools have helped you along your solo journey and please use the resources below to guide you further down your creative path.
Let’s keep LIVE theatre ALIVE!
Jessica Lynn Johnson
Founder & CEO of Soaring Solo LLC SoaringSoloArtist@gmail.com www.SoaringSoloStudios.com
Tune in and Support the SOARING SOLO SALON on Wednesday September 30th @ 7pm (PST)!
Award winning Director & Developer, Jessica Lynn Johnson, hosts an evening of brand new solo show excerpts. This enticing program will be livestreaming from the Whitefire Theatre and will safely rotate 6 superb Solo Artists in and out throughout the night. There will be a post show Q&A with all of the artists, hosted by Jessica, on Zoom. This event will be monthly. CLICK
Start every Hump Day off right with FREE Guided Meditation and Writing Prompts with “Isolate Meditate Create”!
Join BEST NATIONAL SOLO ARTIST WINNER Jessica Lynn Johnson EVERY HUMP DAY @ 9AM (PST) on ZOOM for ISOLATE. MEDITATE. CREATE!
This is a 100% free guided meditation & writing prompt experience is designed to keep you healthy, connected and creative EVERY HUMP DAY during STAY AT HOME and who knows, maybe you will even write your one person play with the content you create.
CLICK HERE TO ATTEND ISOLATE MEDITATE CREATE 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.
Watch a slew of sensational solo shows this month!
The best way to CREATE a solo show is to SEE solo shows! Jessica Lynn Johnson has proudly Directed & Developed over 100 solo shows in her solo theatre career and is still going strong! She would absolutely love to have you join her and the rest of the Soaring Solo Community at any of the following upcoming LIVESTREAMING solo shows she has had the honor of creatively collaborating on.
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.
1 on 1 coaching and 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 resonated with many of the things on this list, then take the next step by emailing
SoaringSoloArtist@gmail.com for more information.