Lady Gaga, Writing, & Vomit: Honor What You Regurgitate

Back in December I wrote this post about a Lady Gaga interview I caught on Fuse. It was a rockin’ interview, mainly because as I listened to Gaga talk about her creative process,  it resonated with certain creative things I feel as a writer.

Well, last night she was back on Fuse talking about all things Gaga: her writing process, her albums, metaphors in her work, her sense of style, high art, her message. All that fabulous stuff that I love her for.

There was one thing she said that hit me in the gut. As soon as she said this, I wanted to throw a shoe at the TV or punch a notebook or just laugh. I wasn’t sure. All I knew was that she said something that made me feel guilty:

“I write music all the time. Sometimes when I fall asleep I hear melodies or I’ll think of an idea or I’ll see an image or something very graphic for a performance and I get inspired. And other times I just sit at the piano and play. I have these sort of 15-minute moments where I’ll just vomit all these melodies and beats and ideas and when that 15 minutes is over I have to honor that regurgitation. When you regurgitate all that creativity and you regurgitate all of those ideas and you vomit all of the most personal and vulnerable things about yourself, don’t be afraid.  Honor what you’ve done. And just fine tune it and make it better. You have to honor your creativity because the moment you don’t honor your creativity it’ll tell you to fuck off and it won’t come to dinner anymore. “

Oh, Gaga. How did you know I don’t always honor my creativity, and how did you know that bitch has been refusing to come to dinner??

As an artist, whether you’re writing or making music or painting or taking pictures or anything creative, you have to honor your creativity all the damn time. For Gaga it means writing music constantly, falling asleep with beats playing in her head, puking up the most personal and intimate parts of her soul and sharing it with the world. And I think that part of it is crucial to the creative process for everyone, the regurgitation and honoring of it. 

And I felt guilty because it was like she was calling me out.

I’ve heard a number of writing teachers talk about writing from your truth, putting things on the page that are difficult to write, saying things that make you vulnerable but ultimately are honest and real. Sometimes as a writer I’ll want to write something but stop myself because it  feels too personal or true or whatever. Too scary, maybe? Too much like you’ll be able to see through me? In those moments of fear, creativity is not being honored.

I started writing morning pages, which I admittedly don’t always write in the morning, and I think this is my first step towards openly vomiting up all my ideas in those 15-minute sessions like Gaga talked about. The next step is truly honoring what comes up, even if it’s ugly and hard to deal with or seems like the worst, most worthless idea of all time.

Why? Because there is something about creativity, about art, that isn’t of us. It comes from somewhere else (decide where for yourself) and we’re just messengers. Who the hell am I to not honor that? Who am I to be afraid of what comes out of that?

How do we honor our creativity, though? We do what Gaga says– fine tune and make it better. Revision. Editing. Cutting things and adding things and reworking things until your art is what you first imagined it would be, or better. It’ll never be perfect. There is no perfect. There’s only as-perfect-as-it-can-be-now.

Like she said, your creativity will stop coming to dinner if you don’t honor it. I don’t  blame it; who wants to hang out with a jerk who diminishes your worth?

So, once again, Gaga has sparked something in me and has given me a fresh perspective on the creative process. I know I haven’t given my writing the honor it deserves lately. It comes from fear, which creates resistance, and how can you create freely when you’re second-guessing yourself and spending your time being afraid?

You can’t. In short: regurgitate everything you’ve got in you, every idea you have, honor it for what it is, don’t fear it, and work on it until it makes you proud.

One final line from the Fuse interview: “I’m married to the process.”

I like that. It’s commitment, for better or for worse.

What is your creative process like? Does anything Gaga said resonate with you? 


10 thoughts on “Lady Gaga, Writing, & Vomit: Honor What You Regurgitate”

  1. This really reminds me of the revision seminar with A.J., the one in which she told us to go write in a closet. Do you remember that one? She defines the creative process (Lady Gaga’s vomiting process) and the revision or editing process as two different things, done when you’re at two different mindsets. Always having the editing brain on, I think, wouldn’t be honoring creativity. I’ve been trying to do this more and more in the novel I’m writing, and my momentum has remained forward. Sloooooooowly. But forward.

    When I come to a place where I can no longer do that, perhaps no longer honor that creativity, I do something else. I draw, or redesign my blog, or edit pictures. I think there are other ways to honor that creativity than simply sitting down at your desk and writing 1000 words of fiction a day. Oh, and I engage in creative writing prompts for an hour and a half every other week. I really recommend it.

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    1. I thought of AJ’s class too, and I also thought of something Rachel talked about in a workshop once. Someone asked how Rachel could always tell what the heart of a story was even if the writer hadn’t written it on the page yet, and she told us she looked for the spots where the story veers towards something and then pulls back. Maybe the writer pulls back because what they were heading towards was hard to write about, or was too real, or whatever. But she told us to try and write INTO those places in our stories, even if they’re scary or hard to face. That reminds me a lot of what Gaga talks about with the regurgitation and honoring whatever comes out.

      Oh, and also, I agree that doing something other than writing really helps spark creativity. Music is a big one for me, as is going out and taking pictures or just reading some really, really good writing.

      I’ll have to start doing creative writing prompts like you suggest– I think something like that would be really beneficial. Thanks for the tip! (I may be emailing you to find out where you get prompts!)

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  2. GAGA HAS HER OWN WAY OF DOING THINGS HER SONGS, VIDEO’S, CLOTHES, SHE ONE OF A KIND AND THAT’S WHY WE LOVE HER, SHE WORKS SO HARD TO GIVE US A GIFT OF POP AND A LOOK INTO HER LIFE.
    SHE’S TRULY A SUPER STAR , PEOPLE LOVE TO PUT HER DOWN
    BUT IF THEY WOULD ONLY READ HER WORK, INTERVIEWS AND REALLY LISTEN TO HER WORDS IN HER SONGS AND VIDEO’S THEY WOULD UNDERSTAND HOW WONDERFUL AND BRIGHT SHE REALLY IS. SHE FIGHTS FOR ALL PEOPLE WITH LOVE AND A OPENED HEAT AND MIND. GAGA IS HUMBLE , GRATEFUL, KIND, LOVING.
    WHAT MORE DO PEOPLE WANT FROM HER ? I HAVE NOTHING BUT LOVE AND RESPECT FOR HER AS WELL AS HER WORK.
    MY PAWS ARE RAISED GAGA❤

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    1. Thanks for the comment! I agree- she is one of a kind. She’s herself and I think a lot of people like that, but I think it scares a lot of people, too. Someone who is afraid of self-expression might be freaked out by her, but I think she’s really inspirational.

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  3. I hadn’t realized until I read this what I’ve been missing most in my current creative process versus the one I had 3 or 4 years ago. I had a lot less fear back then. Now, since I can see a small light at the end of the writing tunnel, I’m more aware of the fact that I’m no longer writing in a vacuum. I make a more conscious effort to constantly pull myself back into that hole.

    I think that’s what Lady Gaga means by honoring that regurgitation. We need to give ourselves permission to let it all out, with no restraint or thought to whether or not it’s any good. Honor where it came from because honesty is the best starting point for any creative work. Thanks for such a poignant reminder.

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    1. Thanks for the comment, Natalia. I agree with you that honesty is the best starting point for any creative work. I think the fear comes from recognizing that our honesty makes us vulnerable. But really, that’s when we create the best stuff, when we’re open and real.

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  4. “How did you know I don’t always honor my creativity, and how did you know that bitch has been refusing to come to dinner??”

    I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard over a commentated line before!! Thank you for this sweet piece. I am definitely not going to wonder why I’m always at a table for 1 anymore.

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  5. It’s like what Gwen Stefani tells us in her song: “What you waitin’ for? Take a chance, you stupid hoe – ”

    Er, you get what I mean.😛

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