Neil Gaiman on Making Mistakes

Mistakes. We try our best to avoid making them, but that may be the worst thing we could possibly do. Neil Gaiman has a terrific wish for us all to remember regarding mistakes.

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before.

Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.

-Neil Gaiman

Such brilliant advice for all of us. I don’t want to beat a dead horse here as I know I’ve talked about failure more than once. This message, this wish for all of us, to make mistakes is just so vitally important to the creative process.

As he so beautifully states, in making those amazing mistakes it means you are pushing yourself past your comfort zone. This is where the growth happens, not just creatively but as a person as well.

I really love the idea of making amazing, beautiful mistakes. The idea of making mistakes that nobody has ever made before. Making those kinds of mistakes mean that I am pushing, growing, and exploring all new territory within MY creative voice. It’s an indicator that I’m truly pursuing my own voice, my own journey, my true adventure.

If I find myself making the same mistakes as everyone else, it might be a sign I’m not staying true to my own unique creative voice. Rather, it makes me feel like I’m chasing someone, or something, else. Chasing someone else’s dream is sure to be a dead end.

As Chase Jarvis has said many a time, “You can’t stand out and fit in at the same time.”

That’s why making our own fantastic mistakes is essential to our personal and creative growth.

Here’s hoping you look back on 2020 with the fondest memories from all of the beautiful mistakes you made as you pushed yourself in new directions!

If you’d like to see the entire speech that this quote from Neil Gaiman is from, you can find that below. It was a speech he delivered to the graduating class of 2012 at the University of Arts. The speech was turned into a book called “Make Good Art” as well, which is also linked below!

Make Good Art – by Neil Gaiman and Chip Kidd

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David (Usually Dave) Szweduik is a photographer, podcaster, and all around geek from the great state of Minnesota and can be found weekly on his podcast Adventures in Creativity. There you’ll find him having conversations fueled by curiosity around the amazing world of all things creativity. If you want even more terrific creativity based content, feel free to join the fun with the Newsletter!

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