Gaiman started out as a journalist, but quit when he realized that “British newspapers can make up anything they want and publish it as fact.” (Sound familiar?) In spite of his disillusionment with the medium, journalism was a good springboard for Gaiman, as it was for Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Stephen King, and Hemingway. (For all its faults, journalism trains writers to produce, and to not waste words.)
In this commencement speech, Gaiman, without wasting too many words, summarizes the craft of writing, which is to make art out of experience.
For all young - and old - writers, wherever you are, watch this. Neil Gaiman has it down.
"Whatever you do, you have one thing that is unique. You have the ability to make art.
When things get tough ... make good art.
Husband runs off with a politician ... make good art.
Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor ... make good art.
IRS on your trail ... make good art.
Cat exploded ... make good art.
Someone on the internet thinks what you are doing is stupid, or evil, or it's all been done before ... make good art.
The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice. Your mind. Your story. Your vision."