Red lipstick and cold-hearted efficiency

by Tulasi-Priya on Monday 19 December 2011

It’s not too early to think about what we’d like to see happen in 2012, in terms of our writing careers, or anything else we care about. This is not about those moldy moral albatrosses we string about our necks—resolutions—but about process, and what the desired outcomes of those processes might be.

To wit: not “I’m going to lose 30 lbs., fifteen of them from my behind,” but, “I’m going to start doing three sets of ten squats per day, building up to a total of fifty by June.” The tape measure and the downsized jeans will take care of themselves.

As far as writing goes, there’s a lot of stuff that can be done that, for some of us, is the equivalent of doing squats: networking on writers’ websites like SheWrites, throwing numerous queries at editorial walls to see what sticks, going to conferences, etc.  Since I’m still in the fetal stages of my writing career (when I referred to myself as a “no-career” writer, Shanna very helpfully suggested that I am, rather, an “emerging artist.” Cool.), I’m going to be focusing primarily on getting the word count up and steady, but I still plan to occasionally let people know who I am. Betsy Lerner already knows who I am, so what more could I ask?

Actually, a lot. Not because Betsy isn’t enough (she’s beyond enough), but because it’s my dharma, my duty, to expose myself and my work to as many of the best people and opportunities as I can. There’s an old Indian saying, “If you have come to dance, what is the use of keeping yourself veiled?” I started with a semi-deranged blog post, let people know about it, and now I’m writing more than I have in years. Personally, I think most of it is crap, but that’s none of my business. What I want is to write completely freely and to revise with cold-hearted efficiency. I want to be the homely girl with the big nose and bright red lipstick who doesn’t know she’s homely and makes everyone else believe she’s beautiful. I want to be the High Priestess of Divine Cluelessness. I want to blow my own mind. In the meantime, I will let people know I’m around. Just say hello, that sort of thing.

I’m aware that as a newly-recovering writer, I just might be over-compensating, that my next depressive episode will probably crash down upon me in a month, but why not celebrate feeling good right now? More than one of my blogfriends, writers I’d gladly trade places with in terms of talent and output, seem to be feeling low about their careers. At first it scared me, but then I realized we all have our ups and downs. I’m going to ride my high for as long as I can.

There are others who have just stepped out, and those who are flexing their new wings; I’m curious to see where it all leads for us. More than that, I’m curious about the journey and how we change on the way. Yeah, I know I sound all New Age Girl Scout, but we don’t get to keep what we achieve; we can only take away what we become.  And if you’re in agreement with Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011), you may not even get to keep that. So why not have fun?

What will you initiate in 2012? What is your desired outcome? Who will you become in the process?

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Averil Dean December 19, 2011 at 7:50 pm

I’m going to finish my novel and start sending queries. Beyond that, I’ve got nothing.


Tulasi-Priya December 19, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Sounds like plenty. I’m certainly not one to plan out a year. I can barely plan the next 24 hours, unless forced by the prospect of incoming guests.


anna December 19, 2011 at 11:39 pm

I’m going to write a thing I’ve started about Philip K. Dick which is morphing into a gigantic project. When that’s done, I’m going to write more crow things. That’s as far as I can see.
Oh, but I guess I should also get a job that pays. Ha.


Tulasi-Priya December 20, 2011 at 10:07 am

I adore PKD. Can’t wait to see how it develops.


MacDougalStreetBaby December 20, 2011 at 4:48 am

Oh, yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! To all of it. And I love that “emerging artist” title. Mind if I steal it?

I joined a photography group about a month ago. While it’s true I was looking for a community, I have to admit that my biggest motivation was to try to get my pictures in the hands of as many people as possible. There will be an exhibit at the end of June and I will automatically be included. You can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be wearing lipstick.

My goals for 2012 have already been initiated. I’m doing my daily squats and I’m networking. The question is not will my time come but whether I’ll have a six pack to show for it when it does.


Tulasi-Priya December 20, 2011 at 10:09 am

The question is not will my time come but whether I’ll have a six pack to show for it when it does.

I’m stealing that one. I need to start shopping lipstick shades.


Sarah W December 20, 2011 at 9:18 am

I’m going to finish the synopsis for my WIP and enter the CWA debut dagger contest–the deadline is in January.

I hope to become someone who isn’t petrified over writing synopses and also someone more comfortable with promoting her work.


Tulasi-Priya December 20, 2011 at 10:10 am

What’s CWA? More important, is it cheating to have someone help you write a synopsis?


Sarah W December 20, 2011 at 11:11 am

Crime Writers Association—it’s based in the UK. One of the members read my first chapter and suggested I might want to enter. I figure I’d at least get synopsis practice out of it.

Rules are here. Nothing says I can’t have help writing the synopsis—which is a great and good thing.


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