Friday, May 10, 2013

Neil Gaiman: Make Good Art

Despite all our talk about buckling down to business, there is such a thing as taking yourself too seriously and losing track of what truly matters in the creative life. In honor of all the young enthusiastic artists about to be released from their universities this weekend, here's a commencement speech really worth paying attention to:

This entire speech is so amazing, I'd like to print the entire transcript out and read it before going to bed at night, and then again when I wake up in the morning -- but just for you, dear reader, I've paraphrased his ten main points.
  1. When you start out on a career in the arts, you have no idea what you're doing. This is great.

  2. If you have an idea of what you want to make, what you were put here to do, then just go and do that.

  3. Do the work that excites you. If you do work you're proud of, then you have the work, even if you don't get the money.

  4. If you make mistakes, it means you're out there doing something.

  5. Having the ability to make art is a lifesaver.

  6. Make the art that only you can make. Expose your true self. Take risks. After all, where would be the fun in doing something that you knew was going to work?

  7. People get hired because, somehow, they get hired. But people keep working because the work is good, they're easy to get along with, and they deliver the work on time. And you don't even need all three.

  8. Enjoy your success. Stop worrying. Let go, and enjoy the ride.

  9. The harder you work, and the more wisely you work, the more lucky you will get - but there is luck and it helps. We are in a transitional world, and the traditional avenues for distribution are changing. The old rules are crumbling, and nobody knows what the new rules are - so make up your own.
But most importantly,


Congratulations Graduates, and congratulations to the rest of us too -- today is a fresh new chance for us to launch out into the world, and make it better resemble the kind of place in which we want to live.

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