If you want to be a writer, or any kind of artist, drop everything and listen to this now. And not just for Neil Gaiman’s lovely British accent, or his delightful humor. This is how it’s done.
You haven’t clicked yet? OK, a few choice bits to persuade you to commit the ten minutes or so it will take:
- The rules on what is possible and impossible in the arts were made by people who had not tested the bounds of the possible by going beyond them. And you can.
- If you’re making mistakes, it means you’re out there doing something. And the mistakes in themselves can be useful.
- In my case I did something which these days would be easy to check, and would get me into trouble, and when I started out, in those pre-internet days, seemed like a sensible career strategy: when I was asked by editors who I’d worked for, I lied.
- When things get tough, this is what you should do. Make good art.
- The old rules are crumbling and nobody knows what the new rules are. So make up your own rules.
But really, you need to listen. To the whole thing. You need to hear about how he got his typewriter, and what happened to his first book. And what to do when faced with failure, or with success. Really. Do this now.
Why are you still reading?
OK, spoiler alert: this is how it ends:
And now go, and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make good art.
Seriously, why are you still reading?
Link to original Neil Gaiman Addresses the University of the Arts Class of 2012 from The University of the Arts (Phl), just in case. Thanks to the University for asking Gaiman to speak at their commencement, and to Galleycat for sharing the video. – Meg