Tipsy Tullivan’s Top Tips


From “How to Write for the New York Times”, Tipsy Tullivan. Via.

From Electric Literature:

Alex Lu: What does your creative process looks like, whether you’re tackling material in relation to disability or not? I’m curious what helps you get through writing, and how you structure your day around creating, especially if you’re writing pieces that speak openly about your lives and experiences.

Esmé Weijun Wang: My creative process looks different depending on what I’m focusing on at the moment. Because my energy and strength are so limited by illness, I make a conscious effort to use the amount I have on priority projects. For example, in addition to my literary career, I also run a business called The Unexpected Shape, and sometimes that’s in the foreground. Right now, I’m working on the the final stages of wrapping up my next book, so that’s a priority over generating new written material.

My illness is such that I tend to be cognitively and physically stronger in the mornings, which creates a real incentive to write as much as possible in those early hours. I wake up at around 3 or 4, most of the time. And I go to bed very early.

Jillian Weise: I like this notion of “getting through” writing. Mostly I think about “getting away” with it. I am terribly bored whenever someone asks me to write something that has, indeed, existed before, such as a Disability 101 thinkpiece that explains x, y, or z to the presumed nondisabled readers. I prefer to make something “that did not exist before.” I’m in the third year of performing the fictional character Tipsy Tullivan across social media. She lives in Asswallascallacauga, Alabama; she is White and nondisabled; she has vlogged from a conference room at The New York Times, from a drive-thru at McDonalds in Iowa City, and from inside an elevator.

Keah Brown: Scheduling is my best friend. When I was writing for Cliche Magazine, I would do the interviews of celebrities and TV shows in the morning, and then write essays about my life and disability in the afternoon and night. Now that I’ve left, I write in order of deadline. So I’ll prioritize writing the essays that are due first. As I write my forthcoming book, The Pretty One, I’m changing up my whole style, and writing out of order, to keep myself fully immersed in it and to avoid burn-out. I hate the idea that you must write every day because I really can’t do that. Sometimes the aching bones in my body will not allow it.

EWW: I did just spend approximately three weeks at a residency in Wyoming, and while I was there, I focused on creating new stuff. I put an autoresponder on my email and drafted a new essay and the beginning of my third book, which is going to be a novel; I tried very hard to structure my time there so that I was creating as much as possible and dealing less with, say, administrative tasks. And, now that I’m back, I’m really feeling the pressure of all of the admin I didn’t do at the time.

“What Does It Mean to Be a Disabled Writer?”, Alex Lu, Electric Literature