Neil Gaiman Addresses the University of the Arts Class of 2012

I have a special love and admiration for Neil Gaiman.  I don’t think I idolize him necessarily.  His bibliography is filled with things I adore, words I live by, things I think are all right, things I didn’t particularly like, and things that put me to sleep. Oh, Neil. I think his blog is what moved him from just an author to someone that his fans can really feel close to. For me, the way I feel about him I can compare to that of a professor/student relationship.  It’s like in college where you are in a huge auditorium class.  Chances are your professor won’t even read your paper, instead a TA will because the volume of students is too large. But you sit in class with rapt attention as the professor lectures, and you know that even if he will forget your face, and never learn your name he’s happy to teach you and pass along knowledge wishing for the best for all his students.

So I sit in rapt attention at another lecture from Neil Gaiman.

The rest of this blog is an outline of the speech given in the above video. Or, the notes I would have taken if this were a class.

– made list of everything he wanted to do writing wise instead of planning a career

1. when you start out, you have no idea what you’re doing – and it’s great. You can go beyond self-imposed boundaries. If it’s something no one’s done before, there’s no rules about it to stop you.

2. If you have an idea of what you want to do, then just go and do that. Sometimes you have to do a few other things along the way (think practice). Move towards your goals. If something is taking you away from the path towards your goal, don’t do that.

3. You have to deal with failure.

– If you do something only for the money, it’s going to suck.

Problems with success
– fear of having success taken away. imposter syndrome.
– obsessively trying to keep the same level of success and making yourself miserable in the process

4. Make mistakes. It means you’re doing something. You might get something good out of it anyway.

Make Good Art. In good times and bad.

5. Make your own art. most people start off resembling others, and that’s normal.  You know it’s your own when you feel like you’re naked walking down the street.

6. people get hired somehow. people keep working because their work is good, they are easy to get along with, and meet deadlines. 2 out of three of those will keep you hired.

7. best piece of advice from Stephen King. “This is really great, you should enjoy it.”

Transitional Field of Publication and Art

– future is unknown (intimidating and liberating)
– be as creative as you need to be to get your work seen
– make up your own rules
– pretend you’re someone who can do it and then do it

In conclusion
– make great mistakes
– make the world more interesting for you being here.
Make Good Art.

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