Neil Gaiman’s Advice For Creative People Is Harsh, True, And Mostly Optimistic

If you are currently struggling with your art, your career path, your passion, this is a very good speech to hear.

If you never heard of Neil Gaiman you must not have consumed any content in the last 10 years. Neil’s been practically anywhere, from Books (American gods), Comics (Sandman), the movies (Stardust) and plenty of others.

Aside from being one of my favorite authors, Neil seems to have ‘wondered’ into success, rather than set a goal and charge forward. In this 20 minutes Commencement Speech at the University of the Arts from 2012 Neil pretty much throws the truth about being in the creative field in everybody’s faces, and he does it in the most charming way possible.

I’ve head similar advice many a times, and hearing it again from Neil echoed well with me. Here are some of the key points I gathered:

  • Don’t be afraid to fail
  • Be nice, Deliver awesome work and deliver on schedule – doing any two on a consistent basis will land you jobs
  • It does not matter how you got the job – be awesome at it and you’ll keep it

There are many,many more well worth 20 minutes on a Saturday morning.

[Neil Gaiman h/t Kirsty Mitchell, Rebecca Litchfield]

  • catlett

    I have consumed many terabytes of content over several different genres for far longer than the last 10 years and have never heard of him. I bet that if I walked down any street in Manhattan asking people who he is that nobody else has either.

  • Nicholas Kingston

    @catlett you’re downloading the wrong stuff then ;-). Check him out, he’s multitalented

    • catlett

      I would start with a book. What is his best? (Not necessarily most popular)

      • miscatal

        My favorite of his is the Sandman series, but if you prefer a novel, I’d recommend American Gods or Coraline. His work generally falls into the “Speculative Fiction” category.