I have to write a bio. I hate writing bios. To be clear, by “bio” I mean a short biographical statement such as might appear in a press release or show program. An autobiographical statement in this case since I need to write one about myself. I’d probably have an easier time writing one about someone else.
In theory, I should be happy to have to write a bio because it means that something is happening that necessitates me providing a bio (in this case, two scenes from my new play being performed in a scene showcase), but it still feels like a chore.
The first problem with writing a bio is just the discomfort of having to list a bunch of (supposedly) impressive and interesting stuff about myself. Still lacking a Pulitzer Prize, I’m never sure what a reader may find impressive and interesting versus what will make them think, “Who cares?”
The second problem is the structure of a bio tends to be restrictive and boring. Program bios (such as the one I’m supposed to be writing instead of this blog post) usually work best when the first words of the bio are the person’s name. This results in many bios of mine that start “Kim Z. Dale is…” How exciting!
I could use an active verb. If it’s a bio for me as a playwright the obvious choice is “Kim Z. Dale writes…” Unfortunately, that feels like an exaggeration unless followed by the phrase “less than she would like to.”
I could focus on past accomplishments (“Kim Z. Dale has written…”), but that starts skirting dangerously toward becoming obituarial: “Kim Z. Dale is survived by a bunch of scripts on her hard drive, most of which only had one or two productions because theatres are obsessed with world premieres…” But she is not bitter.
Whatever the verb, the next part of the bio tends to be a laundry list of accomplishments. I always struggle with the ideal number of things to include to make me seem legitimate but not obnoxious. I don’t know if I’ve ever succeeded.
Then there is the extra stuff. Should I try to add something funny or quirky? Should I mention my day job or my family? Should I ask people to follow me on Twitter? (Please follow me on Twitter.)
I know I am overthinking this. I should just throw a few sentences together and call it a bio. It will be done, and it will be fine. I also know that if I write it on a different day in a different mood it would come out totally different, which would also be fine.
If you want want to see how my bio turned out and watch scenes from six new plays, come to the Women’s Theatre Alliance of Chicago’s New Play Development Workshop Scene Showcase at 7:30 PM on Wednesday, May 17 at Stage 773, 1225 W Belmont Avenue, Chicago. Tickets are $10 at the door.
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