I have a confession. I like to listen to commencement speeches. A caveat to that: I especially like to listen to commencement speeches given by authors. I don’t particularly seek them out, but when I find them, I give a listen.
Today I stumbled upon one by Neil Gaiman, one of the premier names in fantastic literature today. He gives a lot of advice, but he said three specific things that I really needed to hear today:
1) ENJOY THE RIDE
The road to success in any creative field is difficult and unsure. Even when success is at hand, there’s usually the worry that the success won’t last, or that somehow someone will take it away from us, and it’s important not to let those worries distract us from the triumphs we do achieve. Even without success, though, we should be enjoying the things that we create. Otherwise, what are we doing it for? And if we don’t enjoy it, who else will?
2) MAKE GOOD ART
This seems like a no-brainer, but it is something to be remembered. In Gaiman’s speech he talks about making good art in reaction to everything, good or bad. This is something that I try to do, but I wonder if I get lazy sometimes.
3) FAKE IT ‘TIL YOU MAKE IT
This is something I have to admit I heartily believe in. After all, I’ve publicly admitted that I like to Author-Interview myself in my head. Whenever I want to shy away from my dreams, because it’s just taking me so long to get to them with life in the way. Plus, let’s face it, you never really know how to write a novel until you’ve… finished writing a novel. That’s just a fact. But until then (and I’m moving ever closer! Hi 75K!) I’m just going to keep pretending that I know how to do this thing.
If you want to see the rest of Gaiman’s address, it’s here: