Neil Gaiman

Literary Birthday – 10 November – Neil Gaiman

Happy Birthday, Neil Gaiman, born 10 November 1960.

Neil Gaiman Quotes

  1. Every hour wounds. The last one kills.
  2. You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.
  3. Fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through other eyes. And then in the tale we stop before we die, or we die vicariously and unharmed, and in the world beyond the tale we turn the page or close the book, and we resume our lives.
  4. Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.
  5. What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore, it knows it’s not fooling a soul.
  6. People think dreams aren’t real just because they aren’t made of matter, of particles. Dreams are real. But they are made of viewpoints, of images, of memories and puns and lost hopes.
  7. May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.
  8. She seems so cool, so focused, so quiet, yet her eyes remain fixed upon the horizon. You think you know all there is to know about her immediately upon meeting her, but everything you think you know is wrong. Passion flows through her like a river of blood. She only looked away for a moment, and the mask slipped, and you fell. All your tomorrows start here.
  9. There are so many fragile things, after all. People break so easily, and so do dreams and hearts.
  10. Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.
  11. Stories you read when you’re the right age never quite leave you. You may forget who wrote them or what the story was called. Sometimes you’ll forget precisely what happened, but if a story touches you it will stay with you, haunting the places in your mind that you rarely ever visit.
  12. You get what anybody gets – you get a lifetime.
  13. I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you’ll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.

If you want more advice, read:

  1. Neil Gaiman’s Rules for Writing  
  2. How To Become A Writer – The Easy Way – by Neil Gaiman 
  3. Neil Gaiman On Making Good Art
  4. 7 Tips To Help You Write Like Neil Gaiman

This is Neil Gaiman’s answer to a young fan who wanted to know how to make money when starting out as a writer:

Well, if you’re starting out as an author, you mostly can’t make a living, because you need to write, which takes time, and you need to eat while writing, and have a place to write, and that costs money, and when you do sell your first book it won’t be for much, because mostly first novels aren’t sold for much, and often they aren’t sold at all. (Stephen King made a lot of money from the paperback sale of his first novel. But he had, what, over half a dozen unsold books in drawers).

When I started, I made my day job writing. I was a journalist, I wrote a few short stories, I interviewed people, I wrote non-fiction books. It taught me a lot about the way the world worked, a lot about deadlines, and it meant I wrote enough to develop a style, a voice that sounded like it was mine. And it paid the bills, and I edged over towards prose fiction and comics and only gave up my last few regular columns when I could afford to.

That’s how I did it.

When I went to talk to kids on careers at my old school, in the 80s, I advised anyone who was doubtful about writing as a career to do something else (“Johnnie wants to know if there’s job security in being a freelance writer?” said one mother. And I told her that there wasn’t, and if Johnny, who didn’t say anything, really wanted job security, she should go and talk to the people from jobs in banking and hotel management in the main hall). It’s not an easy thing to do. But I still wouldn’t trade it for anything else…

Advice from Neil Gaiman’s Journal

Neil Gaiman is an English author who writes short stories, novels, comic books, graphic novels, and films. His novels include Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book. He has won many awards and he is the first author to win the Newbery and the Carnegie medals for the same novel – The Graveyard Book.

Image:  By Kyle Cassidy

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 10th November 2012