How to make good art?

I’ve came across a 2012 beautifully written and read commencement speech by Neil Gaiman. I confess that I’ve never read him but his speech resonated so well with me that I intend to read some of his work soon. He offers many ideas and insights on creative processes, and artists. This post focuses on the former.

While he direct his advices to graduates starting a new career, I believe that these insights can be applied to any artistic project, at any point in one’s career. I’d summarize his advices regarding the creative process in 3 points:

  • When you start out on a career in the arts you have no idea what you are doing;
  •  If you have an idea of what you want to make, what you were put here to do, then just go and do that;
  • Follow your vision (which he calls metaphorically a mountain) and make your art.

I’ve written about how to start out new creative processes in my previous post (which I plan to develop further in the coming weeks). The gist of that post is that when starting a new creative project you should:

  • Avoid the paralyzing projections by reminding yourself that any creative task is an exploratory process.
  • Focus on the practice itself and on realizing as many ideons as possible.
  • Have a broad vision, follow your intuition, and keep working.

These points parallel nicely the insights offered by Neil Gaiman. With the notable difference that he says them a way that made bow in reverence.

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