Lady Gaga and the Zen of Weird

Lady Gaga is ugly.

Which is an okay thing. Really, it is. Not everyone was born beautiful. In fact, in a way, it’s inspiring. Because if you think about the rest of the women in the music industry you’re going to come up with a whole pile of gals whose talent is riding on the coattails of their sex appeal.

That isn’t to say that Lady Gaga doesn’t have sex appeal. But it’s a different kind of sex appeal. She draws people in by being completely and inscrutably weird.

And the thing is, I’m not even sure its real. Every time I hear about this woman making some bizzare fashion statement, wearing a dress made out of the bodies of still-living iguanas (give it time; it’ll happen) I think to myself, “That woman is a genius,” not because I think that she’s making a brilliant fashion move, but because I understand she’s making a brilliant career move.

Weird sells.

And since I’ve got a certain vested interest in what sells, I sit up, pay attention, and start taking notes.

Which brings me to the topic at hand. A few days back Chuck Wendig made a post about how writers should try to be more like rock stars. And then, less than a week later, he issued a disclaimer which basically said, “Ha, ha, just kidding guys, maybe don’t take things so seriously, yeah?”

And while I understand what he was doing with the disclaimer, I have to say, I’m a little disappointed. I think he was right the first time. Writers should be more like rock stars.


Because there are eleventy-six billion of us on Twitter alone. We’re drowning in a sea of #amwriting hashtags and “Got my wordcount goal today. Hooray for me!” Tweets. There’s nothing wrong with that, per say, but if we’re going to make an impact we have to do something to stand out.

And yes, before you say it, I know that writing a good book is the most important thing. But it isn’t the only thing.

Because writing a book is about telling a story. But turning yourself into a rock star is about becoming a story.

People want to know an author’s story. They want to know that J. K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter in some coffee shop. They want to know that Stephen King threw out his first draft of Carrie and only kept working on it because his wife liked it. They want to know that Stephanie Meyers is really an alien from Raxacoricofallapatorius cloaked in human flesh.

So get out there and be at least a little weird. Make some crop circles. Do some graffiti. Make a drunken death threat against your mayor.

Get noticed. Give people a reason to care. Become your own rock star.

People will say, “Oh yeah, that’s that book by Joe Schmoe. He’s the guy who lit himself on fire and swan dived off Niagra falls last year.”

People will also say, “You mean there’s actually some dude named Joe Schmoe? Far out, man. Far out.”

And no, I’m not kidding.

(Except maybe about the death threat thing. Don’t do that.)

17 responses to “Lady Gaga and the Zen of Weird

  1. OMG! Loved the Doctor Who reference! I’ve always been considered a bit wierd, now I think I might just capitalize on that. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. No. They really shouldn’t.

  3. I had to look up and see if there really is a book by Joe Schmoe…..
    You are so right. Weird does sell.
    Hmmm, I need to capitolize on my blondeness that allows for very odd sayings at times….

  4. You made me laugh like crazy, Albert. I loved this post.

    And I also think you have a point. Look at Neil Gaiman – he’s,beautiful, intelligent, and not above making some sexual jokes during his lectures that make whoever’s lusting after him go “yummers.” He bought himself a gothic mansion. Now he’s gone and married Amanda Palmer, only proving that he’s got a true rock-star inside those black clothes of him. And my god, does he sell.

    This doesn’t mean any of us should put our writing by the wayside and just assume that weirdness will be enough, but weirdness can definitely help sell.

  5. Yes! One if the reasons I snatch up all of Daniel Handler’s works is because he not only writes weirdly, he lives weirdly. I remember him.

  6. It’s weird…I’m so normal! ha, ha! You’re right, Albert, weird sells. And we’ve all got SOME weirdness hidden within us. (Some not so hidden!)

    Fun post!

  7. Albert, you are wonderfully weird. Were you dropped on your head at birth? I ask because I firmly believe that I was and my mother never told me…it would explain so much…

    I am enjoying reading your posts…I like the way your mind works…

  8. This post made me laugh!wonderful….
    Being weird is great.

  9. There is much to think about here. Good post.

  10. New twitter hashtag! #amweird

  11. Jack Campbell, Jr.

    We are all a little weird. We just need to embrace our inner-weirdness. If we weren’t weird, we wouldn’t be able to write anything. Weird is the muse. If you looked at everything the way everyone else did, no one would care to see it through your eyes.

    I love being weird.

  12. Another relevant post. Brings to mind the whole Keep Austin Weird credo now ranging through other weird cities, like Portland.

  13. Apparently I was so excited about being weird that I forgot to mention: for the record, Lady Gaga is hot!

  14. Just discovered your blog, and what a fun read. Great post.

  15. Wow! This was really inspirational and that’s one of my fears, being weird… But I’ll definitely give it a shot and who knows? Maybe I might get my stories noticed 🙂

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