Neil Richard Gaiman is an author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre and films. If you are a comic fan then you will know him most for his series The Sandman.

Here he addresses the University of the Arts Class of 2012. Chalk this up as another of the best commencement speeches… like ever!  For anyone who has an artist heart, a school of hard knocks experience or who would like to see their creativity become successful.

A few highlights and what he did not know:

  1. When you start out you have no idea what you are doing, this is great. People who know what they are doing know the rules of what is possible and what is not possible. You do not and you should not.
  2. If you have an idea of what you want to make or what you want to do then just go and do that. This is much harder than it sounds and in the end sometimes much easier then you can imagine… Learn to do by doing!
  3. When you start out you have to deal with the problems of failure. You need to be thick skinned and know that some of your projects will not survive.
  4. The problems of success are real and if you are lucky you will experience them! And the biggest problem of success is that the world conspires to stop you from doing the thing that you do because you are successful.
  5. I hope you’ll make mistakes! If you make mistakes it means you are out there doing something and the mistakes themselves can be very useful.
  6. When things get tough… MAKE GOOD ART… DO GREAT WORK!
  7. People keep working when (a) your work is good (b) you are easy to get along with and (c) you get the work in on time! You only need 2 out of 3 (to appreciate this fully watch at 14:20)
  8. “The best piece of advice I ever got that I ignored,   ”This is really great, you should enjoy it”… and I didn’t.” ~ Neil Gaiman
  9. When approaching something you have never done… PRETEND that you are someone who could do it. Not pretend to do it, but PRETEND that you are someone who could do it!

Enjoy your success. Make interesting and amazing mistakes. Enjoy your failures. Enjoy your life! Because, like a small child, the time passes too quickly!



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