Make Good Art

It’s been floating around the ether for a couple of days, but just in case you’ve missed it, I want to make sure you can get to Neil Gaiman’s speech to the graduates of the University of the Arts. It’s twenty minutes, but if you’ve ever wondered whether you ought to be doing what you’re doing, (especially if it has anything to do with making something, whether that be sculpture, clothes, fiction…) then you could do worse than spend your time with Neil.

Two things stood out for me. One: the exhortation to make mistakes, because if you’re making mistakes then you’re obviously doing something. And doing something is the only way you’ll get anything good, even if you have to write a hundred crappy stories to get it.

And two, you should only do work that you’re proud of, and excited about, even if it brings you no money. You will still have the work, and your pride.

This might be hard to swallow, especially with regard to money. But the life of an artist is so precarious anyway that it’s not worth compromising what you want to do just for money. Believe in it. Believe in your own version of success. Write it down. Put it somewhere you can look at it. Keep walking towards it.

Even if you never make it you’ll always know you were heading in the write* direction.

(Ah hell. I swear this was one of those Freudian things.)

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