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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Make Good Art – Super Inspiring Keynote by Neil Gaiman

The following commencement address by award-winning novelist, graphic novelist and screenwriter Neil Gaiman, written for and delivered to a group of college graduates, nonetheless spoke directly to my heart – the heart of a 48 year old woman – long past my own college graduation and well into my third or fourth career. (depending on whether or not you count working on a private sailboat in the caribbean as a career move, which I do) Hearing Gaman's wise, compassionate and inspiring words filled me with as much hope and desire to go forth and live my creative dreams as if I too were just starting out in the "real world."

In his speech, "Make Good Art" (or as Upworthy.com writer Kaye Toal calls it, "6 Ways to Make Sure You Don't Hate Your Life and Actually Enjoy It and Stuff"), Gaiman shares things he wished he'd known when he was first starting out. The advice he imparts is so beautifully in synch with the philosophy I share through Creative Oasis Coaching that I couldn't help myself from interjecting to no one in particular as I watched –  "Yes!" "That's it!" "Exactly right!""Preach it, Neil!"

I highly recommend you treat yourself to watching the entire 20-minute keynote address. But if time doesn't allow, I'll briefly share my take on how those of us for whom college graduation is but a fond memory might apply them to our current creative lives.

#1 –  Ignorance is creative bliss. There's no reason to let not knowing how to do something stop you from doing it! Not only do we not have to follow the rules, we don't even have to know them. We can simply begin. We can start painting, writing, taking photographs. Will we break a million rules along the way? Probably so – woo-hoo – who cares? We'll be doing what we want to do creatively rather than wasting time believing we can't do it because we don't know how.

#2 – One small step toward your creative goal is worth much more than one giant leap away from it. Keep taking small steps towards your creative dreams and practice saying no to the things that stand in the way of those dreams (even if the mean more money or prestige or make other people happy.)

#3 – It's not about money. We get to practice creativity for the sake of the experience – because we love creating and want to bring our visions – paintings, songs, scrapbooks, gardens, meals – to life!

#4 – Make mistakes. Mistakes can lead us to wonderful and unexpected things. If we can't make mistakes, we won't end up making anything.

#5 – Be yourself. Create the way only you can. Even if we begin by copying others, the longer we practice our creativity, the more easily we begin to express our own unique creative voice.

#6 – Act "as if." Pretend you already know what you're doing and are doing what you want do. Want to write a book? Act "as if" you're a writer. What do writer's do? The keep notebooks and pencils with them always. They eavesdrop. They write.

What's one small way you might tap into one of these ideas to dive into your own Creative Oasis today?


Jill Allison Bryan



Anonymous said...

This is fabulous - adore Neil Gaiman - and this talk is amazing. Thanks so much for sharing it!

Jill Allison Bryan said...

You're so welcome, Paula. I imagine I'll revisit this gem often. Filled with great reminders!