Harry Cresswell

Make Good Art

Notes taken from Make Good Art, the popular 2012 Commencement Speech by Neil Gaiman.

Make a list of everything you want to do. Forget the career just check things off your list. One by one.

When you start out you have no idea what you’re doing. That is a good thing. People who know what they are doing know the rules and they know what is possible and impossible. The rules are made by those who have not tested the bounds of the possible by going beyond them.

If you don’t know it’s impossible it’s easier to do. Because it’s impossible there are no rules to stop you from doing it again. If you know what you want to make or do just go and do it.

It’s difficult to know whether what you are doing is the right thing. Imagine your goal is a mountain.. You’ll be alright if you keep walking towards it.Base your decisions on this reasoning. Take jobs which lead you in the direction of your mountain.

Stop when something feels like work. Do anything that feels like an adventure.

Be thick skinned. Not all your projects will survive. Put out 100s of things.

Do work you’re proud of because at least you’ll have the work. Doing it for the money is rarely worth it.

You wont regret doing the things that excite you. Failure is hard, success is harder.

Imposter syndrome — we’re all faking it or at least feel like we are. Success is when you stop saying yes and start saying no. Don’t tie yourself into a certain lifestyle which dictates the job you choose.

Start answering fewer emails to increase your productivity. Make mistakes, it means you’re out there doing something. Making good art gets you though the toughest times. Do what only you can do best. Make good art, consistently.

You’ll only find your voice when you’ve sounded like a lot of other people. Tell your story, your vision, not someone else’s.

When you feel like you’re exposing too much of your heart and your mind — showing too much of yourself — you may be starting to get it right.

You’ll learn as much from the bad stuff as you do from the good stuff. You won’t know if it works until you put it out there.

Secret freelancer knowledge - everyone is making it up as they go along. You get work by creating good work and delivering it on time.

Stephen King — Enjoy your success. Stop and enjoy what you are doing. Don’t worry about it. Let go and enjoy the ride.

The harder and wiser you work the luckier you will get.

Make up your own rules. Pretend you are someone who can do it. Be wise or pretend to be someone who is wise. Make amazing mistakes.

Make Good Art.

Monthly Newsletter

Once a month I curate a newletter for designers and developers interested in CSS, Jamstack and keeping it simple. Check out past issues to get an idea.