How to Write like Adam Lambert (revisited)

Sorry I haven’t been writing or visiting blogs for a while. The volcano in Iceland turned a spur of the moment week away into an expensive and traumatic travel saga! We were very lucky; hundreds of thousands of people were stranded further afield in much more difficult circumstances, but the two day journey across France, the English Channel, England and Scotland was exhausting and we’re still a bit disorientated from the effects of sleep deprivation. It’s chastening to remember that most of the planet’s inhabitants are this tired all of the time and never have the luxury of a holiday in the first place.

We did have a fantastic time on the actual holiday, though, and I hope to share some highlights with you, but posting will have to wait while I decimate dust bunnies and catch up on email, laundry and sleep…

In the meantime, for those of you who are enjoying my blog-birthday wanderings through the archives, here’s another post from my first month of blogging in April last year. It’s one of the best pieces of advice to blogwriters I’ve ever written. Coincidentally,  Adam Lambert was recently a mentor to this year’s hopefuls on American Idol, and he gave some excellent advice. He’s a consummate performer and his voice thrills me, really hits the spot.

See you soon. ~ Janice



adam lambert

How to Write like Adam Lambert.

We watch American Idol every season, a small nuclear family sitting in a Scottish living room, eating pizza, my husband and I drinking wine, all of us enjoying not only the talent, but the stage-managed drama and entertainment of it all.  It cuts across the age gap and gives us common ground to discuss.

This year, Adam Lambert has been our favourite from the start. But here’s why he got me thinking about writing the other day.

Talent alone is not enough.

Millions of people want to sing or write,  to touch hearts with their voices. Millions would love to make masses of money from doing it, too.  But what makes some people stand out?

Adam Lambert started young, that’s clear to see, and I reckon he’s had the support of his loved ones since the moment he figured out what he was born to do. I loved when his dad pointed out, against a backdrop of childhood photos of Adam dressing up and performing, that he was never much into sports.

He’s not a new phenomenon. He’s put in hard graft, earning a living from delivering Broadway performances every night, week in, week out. Maybe he even failed a few auditions along the way and learned from those, too.

He’s honed his talent with hard work and determination, and has learned how to command a stage, create presence and connect with an audience.

He chose to go the American Idol route, confident that the time was right. Impeccable timing and choosing the right platform are crucial for all artists who want to take their work to a wider audience.

He came to the show, daring not only to be different, but to be himself and different. The hair, the earrings, the painted nails, they’re simply symbols that say I’m not afraid to be me.

And just when we were getting used to that, the hair got slicked back and the image changed, just to mix things up.

He’s been versatile, experimenting with a variety of styles yet always, always letting his unique brilliance shine through.

Sometimes understated, sometimes over the top entertaining. That clear, haunting, passionate voice, that core of self-belief and keen sense of what he wants to do, where he wants to go and who he wants to connect with – it comes out in everything he does.

My teenage daughter sings, writes and acts. Some Idol performances get her ranting or raving, others leave her indifferent.  But Adam Lambert’s performance of ‘Mad World’ – a song that she herself sings – stunned her, left us all transfixed.

We felt we’d had a glimpse of genius. The pain, the passion and the experiences he distilled into every syllable connected straight to that part of the soul where empathy lives. He made an already beautiful song his own. He made it an anthem.

He sang like a part of his very soul would die if he didn’t. I wish more people would aim to do that in their writing.

Some days I feel myself wanting to scream at fellow writers that it’s not all about the money, the fame and the glory. When you’re hard-working, passionate, driven to hone your talent, your gift, your life’s work, till it’s gem-bright and brilliant, the money follows.

Make people cry. Make them smile as they sit alone reading your words. Stun them into silence. Make them say Wow! with wide open eyes and gaping mouths. Don’t settle for mediocrity or pander to the people who pay. Be brilliant. Be yourself. Be your best self.


  1. I’m so glad to reread these words: “He sang like a part of his very soul would die if he didn’t. I wish more people would aim to do that in their writing.”

    Your posts reveal the unique muchness of soul, ever pregnant with fresh forms of expression, inviting us to also reveal what matters to our souls!

    Thank you for your soul-singing that soothes and ‘kicks ass’, Janice!

  2. Thanks, Connie. I really loved this post when I re-read it. I began this blog with so much passion and purpose and my writing was much better than it’s been recently, but I plan to take my own advice and focus on doing what I really love. That way, I hope my love of life outside the blogosphere will start overflowing into my words again. It’s no-one’s fault but mine if I allow myself to get overstretched and overwhelmed by my time online.
    .-= janice´s last blog ..How to Write like Adam Lambert (revisited) =-.

  3. Adam Lambert is one of my favourite Idol contestants ever, followed by Carrie Underwood and this year, Crystal Bowersox. A genius he is. Where there is such passion and determination mixed it serves the artist well. I loved how unique he was and not only that, his voice is incredible!
    .-= Davina´s last blog ..Don’t Block the Sun =-.

    1. Hi, Davina. I smiled as I read this; it doesn’t surprise me one bit that you’re an Adam fan! You’d go down well with my kids. Crystal’s our favourite this year, too. My daughter gets annoyed when she thinks the stylist’s been messing too much with her and trying to glam her up too much. You know who I really miss, though? Melinda. One of the most genuine competitors ever. Doesn’t surprise me she went on to do diplomatic work. Again, her voice came from that place where a heavenly gift met skill, determination, hard graft and a purpose.
      .-= janice´s last blog ..How to Write like Adam Lambert (revisited) =-.

  4. Hi Janice .. I can’t say I watch these! But your story about how hardworking as well as obviously talented Adam is .. kids don’t realise how much effort, self confidence, and determination goes into their ultimate success ..

    Lovely imagining you sitting together watching the programme and having a sort of picnic with a glass of vino – delicious ..

    Looking forward to your posts on your trip .. glad you’re home .. and enjoying the Spring sunshine – finally .. bye for now – Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..The Okavango Delta – the perfect place to Safari or holiday? = Yes for me! Part 1/3 =-.

    1. Hi Hilary,
      One of the reasons we enjoy watching Idol so much is that we have great discussions with the kids. It’s not on a Friday any more, but we record it so we can still have the weekend pizza picnics! My daughter’s a very talented lass, but she’s learning from watching these – as well as from her own performing – that there’s an awful lot more to it all than having talent and a dream.

  5. Good article! Can be applied to other areas as well, in addition to singing and writing. Re your statement, “He sang like a part of his very soul would die if he didn’t.” – so true. It reminds me of the comment Paula made after he sang “If I Can’t Have You” in which she said that it was as if he tore his heart out and left it on the stage. For all of her supposed ditzyness, I felt like she nailed it in all of the comments she made about Adam’s performances. And I was there in the Pool of Abdul right along with her.

    1. your comment made me reminisce about the Paula days, but I must say, a lot of what the judges have said this year has been spot on. It’ll be odd when Simon leaves, though.

  6. Hi Janice,
    I’ve not missed a year of AI and enjoyed watching Adam Lambert. What I don’t like is soon after he won he was on a miusic awards show and acted out simulated oral sex. (I think I described it right?!?!) The amound of sexual stuff on TV and every where else these days is enough to turn me off no matter how talented one is.

    On the other hand everything you describe is true and I especially love your last paragraph so much so I’m printing it out and putting it by my computer. I’m into making my writing better and this will help. Thanks!
    .-= Tess The Bold Life´s last blog ..Gary Zukav’s Spiritual Partnership: The Journey To Authentic Power =-.

    1. Hi Tess,
      I’m so glad being in the UK means I missed out on all of that. I would have been really disappointed. With his degree of talent and ability to connect with folk, there’s simply no need to go that sensationalist or over the top.

      Your printing off of my quote has made my day! Don’t laugh, but when I rediscovered this post, I couldn’t remember having written that last paragraph and I did the same! You already have a real gift; your post about your dad and how he drove his workers to chapel was particularly beautiful and haunting. I still remember your descriptions of laundry days on the farm, too.

  7. Hi Janice,

    First, I’m happy to hear you made it home safely. My heart went out to all of the passengers who were stranded because of the volcano. It’s like their life was put on hold for days. But, maybe there’s a silver lining in that, too.

    I hadn’t read this post about Adam Lambert so I’m happy you reposted it. What I like about him is his originality. As Tess mentioned a few of his actions raised an eyebrow or two, but all in all, it’s that he dares to be himself that makes him such a star (plus that voice). I see that with others, too. For example, Madonna, Lady Gaga, and even Richard Simmons (though he’s not a singer).

    And your last paragraph. That’s awesome. I hope I can someday reach those heights.

    Happy Blogging!
    .-= Barbara Swafford´s last blog ..Bloggers Rehab – Need To Go? =-.

    1. Thanks, Barbara. You know I don’t tend to dwell on negative stuff, but it really was a nightmare journey and because of all the profiteering, it ate into our savings, just to get home. The Channel Tunnel train, the Eurostar, went up from £70+ to £200+ per ticket and was fully booked anyway so we couldn’t use it. It was a two day journey and we had to use a French hire car, a taxi, a ferry, shuttle minibuses, an English hire car and then the kids and I got a lift from my daughter’s pal’s mum on the last leg in Scotland while my husband drove to the airport to leave the hire car and get our own car out of the long term parking where we’d left it before we flew out.

      What broke my heart was that we had no laptop with us and all the airlines and ferry companies switched to premium rate phone lines; we only had a mobile (cell phone) with us. I’m dreading the bill. When we got back, we were so exhausted, we were ill.

      But I digress… such a relief to be able to explain why I’m so weary yet glad to be home and blogging again. It wasn’t a deliberate blogging break this time! I agree with what you say about seeing the bigger picture with performers like Adam Lambert. I’m old enough to remember when Queen and David Bowie shocked the world!

      And when it comes to what you’re doing on your blog, you’re already operating at a truly masterful level and hundreds would agree with me!

      1. Hi Janice,

        Wow! Your trip does sound like it was horrific. What really gets me is when others feel a natural disaster is a good time to profit from others. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

        Thank you for your kind words. I truly appreciate them.

        I hope you’re feeling better real soon.

        ((hugs)) and well wishes to you and yours.
        .-= Barbara Swafford´s last blog ..Count The Words or Make Each Word Count =-.

  8. Hi Janice .. so pleased your daughter is benefiting from the watching .. I thought perhaps she was particularly talented .. it’s nurturing her talents, while letting her develop herself .. and you seem to be such a loving family .. – you’re talented too .. such fun to share things together and see how she goes .. enjoy your times .. Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..The Okavango Delta – the perfect place to Safari or holiday? = Yes for me! Part 1/3 =-.

    1. Thanks, Hilary. I know it gets said a lot and ickily overdone, but I really am blessed. That’s one of the reasons I’m so happy to connect with and support others, and inspire, if I can; paying it forward just makes so much sense.

      If you want to get to know a bit more about my daughter’s gifts – and the ‘problems’ they can cause – check out my piece ‘Sharing the Journey’. It was the one behind the naming of the blog, too.

  9. Hi Janice

    I love Adam Lambert and what you’ve written in this post. Last May while trolling the interwebz, I came across a post titled “Why Adam Lambert Didn’t Win American Idol,” which led me to Lisa Erikson’s site for the first time. A year later Lisa reports that rant as her single most popular post ever. It’s long and incisive with 46 comments that are every bit as good as the article. I’ll put the link here in case anyone’s interested.

    I haven’t watched the news in weeks and only recently heard about the eruption in Iceland. It sounds like there could be some interesting storytelling in your travel saga. I totally missed Idol this week too, but I’m rooting for MamaSox. Authenticity is so noticeable, isn’t it? Your little girl is going to be just fine with the kind of nurturing she’s getting from her most authentic mum. Here’s the link.
    .-= Brenda´s last blog ..Baby Brooke =-.

    1. So that’s how you met Lisa! It’s always intriguing to find out how folks’ paths cross. Thanks for the link. I had a hunch he wouldn’t win for a couple of reasons so it’ll be interesting to see if Americans agreed with me.

      I’m aiming to post some bits and bobs about the holiday, but I’m trying to let the memories of the nightmare trip home fade into oblivion so that the holiday memories can shine again. There may be wee stories to go with photos, but I really chilled when I was there and didn’t write a word – not one single note or quote. I used my wee digital camera as a notebook, but mainly just rested in the sun and soaked everything in.

      How’s our wee Brooke? It feels like such an honour ‘knowing’ about her before she was born. Hopefully we can share a wee bit of her growing up and be her international cyber kin.

  10. Janice — I am glad you are home. As I have a daughter who is a social worker in the UK, the volcano was a nightmare as many of her workers were caught out of the country. It wasn’t easy to get home, from what she said…so welcome home:~)

    I am pleased that I read this post. I’m a big American Idol fan, but you made me want to check Adam out and listen. He really is quite talented!!!

    This post was more than just an intro to Adam, however. I liked the way you talked about your family and how much warmth there is in your words about your daughter and her singing. But you really grabbed my heartstrings in your final words, “Be brilliant. Be yourself. Be your best self.” These are good words to live by, whatever you do:~)
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..Picture Poem: Love is Divine =-.

    1. Thanks, Sara! The volcano put a lot into perspective for me. Compared to the scale of things in the States, folk might think we were pathetic for thinking a two day drive is a big deal, but a lot of Brits in other parts of the world, trying to get back to the UK had run out of money, had no accomodation, were missing work etc. I also think it was a warning from Nature. One volcano and suddenly most of northwestern Europe’s airspace was closed.

      I’m glad you liked the piece. I love writing about my kids, but it’s a real dilemma for me because they’re at an age where I have to respect their privacy and be careful how much I reveal. But that’s where I’m happiest, that place where family life meets music meets coachwriting. The more I re-read this post, the more I’m learning from it. It was a good length, too and the paragraphs were short.

      I hope you’re taking it easy and giving yourself a chance to recuperate.

    1. Thanks, Vered. I’ve been offline this week doing just that very thing, being myself; this week, that’s meant being the best mum, daughter and wife I can be. Lots of family stuff going on and they’ve been my main priority.

  11. Janice, often it is the “aha,” that helps us develop what is unique and dynamite. I love playing with ideas and experimenting.

    Thanks for a thoughtful post.

    1. You’re welcome, Robyn. Your constant exploration of how our minds work is always an inspiration to me.

  12. I read this post a couple of different times before commenting and I am so glad I did! Adam Lambert didn’t win American Idol??? I don’t watch the show, but because of Adam’s success, I assumed he did! I’ve seen him on various shows and love his voice.

    I giggled when I read Tess’s comment because when I finished reading this the first time, I thought to myself that I would have to print out that last paragraph and hang it by my computer! I wanted to wait until I moved though, so now that’s exactly what I am going to do. So much inspiration in a few succinct words.

    “He’s not a new phenomenon.” I’m glad you included this section in your post. Too often young people, and many adults who should know better, only see the “instant” success. They never acknowledge the hard work and tears and I’m-giving-up moments that these people go through first.

    Like the others mentioned, I am thrilled that you made it home safely. I look forward to hearing about your travel experiences, which never fail to incite me to wander and to see things with new eyes!
    .-= Randi´s last blog ..Sunday Serenity 05/16/2010 =-.

  13. Hey all,
    I have a small note here from Janice. She can’t post it herself because… Well, I’ll let her explain:

    “Hi to anyone who’s subscribed to my comment thread. I logged on recently to explain my absence, only to discover that my blog had disappeared. The support desk at my hosting company promptly reinstated the blog after I asked for help, but I still can’t access my WP admin link and won’t be able to post till that’s fixed, so please bear with me. Thanks!
    .-= Marc´s last blog ..How to Add the Amazon Showcase Plugin to Your Blog =-.

    1. Thanks. Marc. You’re a real old style knight in shining Welsh armour! As you can see, the server help desk team seems to have fixed all the obvious issues. There are still a few underlying ones, but at least I can post and comment.

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