Lessons I Have Learnt From Gaga This Week

  • Use your wit to celebrate difference, rather than mock it or demean it. The bad guy with the icy put-downs might be memorable, but is anyone else really singing along? 

  • Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Yes, ‘Born this Way’ does sound a little like ‘Express Yourself’, but Madonna seems to have taken it in the spirit it was intended. Let your role-model influence you: if you love a bit of F. Scott Fitzgerald, why not write some scenes with cocktails and a tennis racket?
  • Cultivate an image that will stick with people and don’t compromise or water yourself down. The minute you start to bend you are lost. Wear that meat dress with pride.
  • Adore your audience. Gaga’s had a huge gay following and to me her songs have just got gayer and gayer, in the most wonderful, camp, sing-a-long glittery sense. She know what her fans like and what will speak to them. Similarly, if your writing has a genre focus, think how you can expand that without losing your people. If they’ve liked fairies, how about angels? Or if they’ve liked Georgian, how about shuffling them on to Edwardian? Even if you don't have 'fans' as such yet (I just have my cat!), see what comes to mind when you picture people reading your stuff.
  • Tell people it’s ok to be themselves. Who else would we be anyway? Don’t be afraid to be exactly who you are, in writing or in life.
  • Speak to the outsiders. They’re the people most likely to listen. Nothing connects you with someone better than hitting a weak spot or nerve.
    Born This Way
  • Don’t be afraid to make an entrance, with an outfit or a recording or a killer opening sentence.
  • Even if it’s not you inside it, try and stay within touching distance of that sweaty egg. Do everything you can to connect with your sphere of interest (write, blog, edit, submit, attend events, listen, read, watch…) and one day it might be you climbing out all condensation-y and fabulous.


  1. I learned the importance of spiky, bony shoulders.

    Thank you, too, for the reference to his high exalted eminence, F. Scott Fitzgerald. You receive a bronze martinipen for merely mentioning his name!

  2. Yes, F. Scott Fitzgerald is the best, isn't he? I read 'Tender is the Night' whilst still at school and just fell in love.

    There might actually be a small Fitzgerald-esque surprise in my blog post next Monday :)


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