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?