Make Good Art was a speech that Neil Gaiman delivered for some graduates at an university back in 2012 and it was after that event, that it was put into a very beautifully designed book named Make Good Art that I read and even though its teachings refer to what it needs to be done to accomplish a good art in the arts field, I believe I can twist them and make them be valuable as a inspiration to take on for the 2017 New Year for anything that you wish to accomplish. Or for your New Year’s Resolutions’ tools to help you attain the goals you have set up to.
First of all, Neil Gaiman says that “When you start a career in the arts you have no idea what you are doing” and that is an awesome aspect because if no one knows then there were no rules set up, and if there are no rules, then no one can tell you that something in particular it’s impossible because no one has went beyond any boundaries, since there were none discussed.
I would put that into whatever career you start, you have no idea where it is going to take you or if it is going to take you anywhere as nowadays every day a new career appears with the emerge of technology, social media and overall the internet. Therefore, even though there are specific rules for each job you take, it does not mean that you cannot innovate and try out things or recommend ideas. Be open to opportunities, but make sure to take those that take you closer to that career you seek. Which can change in the future as much as you change your path through those opportunities you take, that make you grow and thus, change your ideas of your career.
“If you don’t know it’s possible, it’s easier to do.” Neil Gaiman
The second lesson is that if you know what you want to do, then just go ahead and do it. #justdoit right? Neil Gaiman discussed that in the field of arts it is hard to establish a balance between what you want to achieve and what it is correct to do taking into account that you need to pay debts, rent, food and life in general and at the same time, work on your creative dreams. What the author mentions worked for him was to imagine he was walking towards a mountain that was his dream and if at any point in time, he would be uncertain about what he should do, he would then stop and ask himself if that road it taking him closer to the mountain and taking him away from the destination. That links to the first thing to be open to opportunities but pay attention not to be diverted to someone else’s mountain when taking specific opportunities. This applies to all jobs and all life events, not just in the creative fields.
The third lesson is the one that we encounter in every book, with any motivational or inspirational figures out there, and that relates to dealing with failures, resilience, self-esteem and confidence in what you do that it will work out.
“The problems of failure are problems of discouragement, of hopelessness, of hunger. You want everything to happen and you want it now. And things go wrong.” Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman advised us not to do anything just for the money as it will turn out we will not have anything else apart from the experience of the money, usually spent or maybe not received.
He says “nothing I did where the only reason for doing it was the money, was ever worth it”.
There are always problems of success. Sometimes you take on jobs that you not necessarily like, but they pay the bills and you start creating a comfort zone, a lifestyle that you cannot give up because it won’t be able to be paid by what you actually want to work. Neil Gaiman shares the following: “the biggest problem of success is that the world conspires to stop you doing the thing that you do, because you are successful”.
The forth lessons connects with the previous ones, because it is connected to failure. ” I hope you make mistakes” it’s Neil Gaiman’s message. Because it means you have tried and you have learned something from it to take on in the future. It means you have tried what you wanted to try and you will have no regrets.
“Fifthly, make your art.” Neil Gaiman
Do that thing that you are passionate about and that only you can do. You are unique and your passion will thrive if you put your skills up to work it out. There is no one else in the world like you to do it and have the success that you can have. I want to share with you another paragraph that I found very inspirational and motivational to keep going on and to follow that passion you have:
“The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. THAT’S THE MOMENT YOU MAY BE STARTING TO GET IT RIGHT.” Neil Gaiman
Lastly, the sixth lesson to take in the 2017 New Year is that you need to have 2 of the following 3 traits in any passion you follow and in any job you apply for:
- Your work is good
- You are easy to get along with
- You deliver your work on time
2 out of 3 is fine
- “People will tolerate how unpleasant you are if your work is good and you deliver it on time.
- They’ll forgive the lateness of your work if it’s good and if they like you.
- You do not need to be as good as the others if you’re on time and it’s always a pleasure to hear from you.” Neil Gaiman, Make good art
At the end of the speech and of the book, because I read the book, Neil Gaiman shares the best advice he had ever received and it was from the Sandman’s book written by Stephen King that says:
“This is really great. You should enjoy it.”
Enjoy your journey to your destination. Being too much worried will take that joy and that’s ultimately what matters, that you have lived each day consciously. In the present, Now.