Amazing Advice for Aspiring Writers by Neil Gaiman

    Every once in a while we get to hear great advice from someone who’s actually done what we hope to do–achieve extraordinary writing success.

    So check out the video below.

    In what has been described as “one of the best commencement speeches ever, ” author Neil Gaiman shares his thoughts about how build a creative life.

    Gaiman started his unconventional career as a jounalist and then went on to create, among many other things, the  ground-breaking Sandman comics series and the children’s book Coraline, which became an Oscar-nominated film.

    Gaiman encourages us to:

    1. Be wise
    2. Make amazing mistakes
    3. Break rules
    4. Leave the world a more interesting place, and
    5. Make good art

    Do yourself a favor and  watch this 20 minutes video. You’ll have the rare opportunity to hear from one of the most creative voices in recent years.

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    What do you think about this video? Please share in the comments.


    About the author

      Mary Jaksch

      Mary Jaksch is best known for her exceptional training for writers at and for her cutting-edge book, Youthful Aging Secrets. In her “spare” time, Mary is also the brains behind, a Zen Master, a mother, and a 5th Degree Black Belt.

    • Cheryl says:

      Thanks for watching and taking the time to comment.

    • amourdange says:

      great post! As always love your articles coz its very inspiring.

    • Heather B says:

      Inspiring, timely, on message and such a positive and powerful speech to send folks out into the world with. “Make good art”, “break rules”, “make mistakes” and “pretend you’re someone that can do it” …

      Thank you for sharing this video, I don’t know if I would have seen it otherwise. I’ve already forwarded to my best friend who will love it as much as I did.

      All the best,

      • Cheryl says:

        Hi Heather,

        Thanks. There’s so much to absorb, I’ve actually watched it a few times. It just keeps getting better.

    • Eyvonne Black says:

      Totally Agree,

      Amazing video. I am such a structured and ‘abide by the rules’ person that some of what he was saying made me cringe, but Neil has shown me to be ‘Free Spirited’ pays.

      Amazing man and a person you would feel comfortable with if he blessed you with his presence.

      Thank you


      • Cheryl says:

        HI Eyvonne–

        I know what you mean. It’s hard to “break out” sometimes, but it’s well worth the effort.

    • I found that speech very engrossing,and the delivery superb. Mr. Gaiman was about as eloquent, and articulate as any one of those graduates could possibly hope for. A job well done, all around. Congratulations to all the young people he inspired.

      • Cheryl says:

        Hi John–

        Thanks for taking the time to comment. I agree–Mr Gaiman is a treasure and his wisdom should be shared.

    • Glori says:

      “Make amazing mistakes…”
      Yes please.
      I guess a lot of people fear making mistakes so much, we rarely try to anything or something.
      Greta advice and great post!

      • Cheryl says:

        Glad you liked it. It is only by consistently pushing aside our fear that we can continue to grow. However, that doesn’t mean it’s easy …

        But when you see the results of overcoming fear you see it’s worth it.

    • “Enjoy it” – great advice for all of life, not just writing.

      • Cheryl says:

        You’re right, Wendy. Although, if you’re anything like me, it’s sometimes hard to enjoy it when you’re in the “midst” of it. But Neil’s advice is sound and certainly worth pursuing.

        Thanks for taking time to comment.

    • One of my favorite movies “Coraline” – actually just watched it two days ago with my son. Now to hear Neil Gaiman speak about it and his life couldn’t have been more timely. Just as I am on deadline, dreading my story and mistakes and NOT enjoying the process, you post his speech!

      Thank you.

      • Cheryl says:

        So glad Neil’s inspirational speech came at the right time for you. It certainly resonated with me, too.

        Isn’t it amazing how often this happens if you just leave yourself open to what life brings your way?

    • Heather says:

      What an inspirational speech. I love the line “If you are making mistakes you are doing something,” and “pretend to be someone who can do it.” Some solid advice for creatives. Thanks for sharing!

      • Cheryl says:

        Glad you liked it …

        I’m taking his advice and learning to make up my own rules!

    • Absolutely love this author! And I always envy book writers because they just have to worry about great content; they have people who do the marketing for them.

      Bloggers who are starting out on the other hand, have to worry about promoting their sites on top of creating great content.

      • Cheryl says:

        Hi Anne–

        Thanks for taking the time to comment. While I agree that traditionally published authors (at least the best-selling ones) used to have it a bit easier, in terms of marketing, I think the tide is turning and authors of all types will now have to take responsibility and play a much more important role is marketing their work.

        I know it can be discouraging when you’re first starting out and having difficulty getting noticed, but those who succeed eventually are the ones who keep producing great content and experimenting with new ways to get noticed. As Neil said in his address, keep making good art–even when the results aren’t exactly what you hope for.

        “Let go and enjoy the ride.”

        Best of luck.

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