By Heather E. Schwartz
Q. I loved improv at first and now it just doesn't seem as magical. Is this a sign I should quit?
A. Michael: One of the great things about improv is that it’s truly accessible to almost anyone. And it’s also really transformational. So people have an intense, almost out-of-body “improv honeymoon experience.” Then, it’s actually quite common that people hit a wall, so to speak. They decide: “I love this—I want to perform! I’m going to keep working and become a really great improviser!” Suddenly, what seemed magical and transformational at first is a discipline.
At that point, very often, new improvisers are faced with teachers or peers who offer a whole string of “no’s” to “help” them hone their work. What a shame that is!
When you realize you have things to learn, your own personal judge/censor pops up, too. And censors are the opposite of fun.
I would absolutely advise sticking with improv. Seek out supportive teachers and peers, and, most importantly, kill that inner censor! It is our judgments of ourselves that prevent us from taking joy in our work. If you can reapply “beginner mind” and show up playfully—try LESS—the letdown will pass. And one day, out of nowhere, you’ll realize improv is magical again. It’s kind of like that moment when you realize a headache that was driving you nuts has been gone for a while. The idea is simple in theory, but it takes some time and practice. Many improvisers reach a point when they say to themselves something that rhymes with “bucket.” And then they break through.
Got an improv-related question? Don’t know where to turn for answers? Ask Kat & Michael!
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Meet the Author
Heather E. Schwartz has always had a passion for writing, grew up to make a career of it, and was surprised when she struggled to write this bio. In addition to writing, she loves laughing, improvising, and draming up crazy ideas.