Neil Gaiman: ‘If You Don’t Know It’s Impossible, It’s Easier To Do’

You have no idea what you’re doing. This is great, says author Neil Gaiman in a commencement speech at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Being unfamiliar with established rules and limits is a plus when you’re trying to be creative and make things: “If you don’t know it’s impossible, it’s easier to do.”

“And because nobody’s ever done it before, they haven’t made up rules to stop anyone from doing that particular thing again.”

You can watch the full speech below. Scrub to about the 1:50 mark for this nugget of advice, which is part of a 20-minute speech on all the things he wishes he had known when he started out as a writer.

Two others worth remembering if you’re a freelancer or artist:

  • Enjoy the ride, don’t fret the whole way (the most important advice Gaiman ever got but never listened to, from Stephen King)
  • You get freelance work if your work is good, you’re easy to get along with and you’re on deadline. Actually, you just need two out of those three to get paid as a freelancer.

Neil Gaiman Gives Graduates 10 Essential Tips for Working in the Arts [Open Culture]

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