How to make it as a freelance and other tips for leading a writer’s life

I came across this lovely little video of Neil Gaiman giving a graduation address to Arts students.

I love his advice on how to make it as a freelancer:

“But you get work however you get work, but people keep working, in a freelance world—and more and more of today’s world is freelance—because their work is good and because they’re easy to get along with and because they deliver the work on time. And you don’t even need all three; two out of three is fine. People will tolerate how unpleasant you are if your work is good and you deliver it on time. People will forgive the lateness of your work if it’s good and they like you. And you don’t have to be as good as everyone else if you’re on time and it’s always a pleasure to hear from you.”

On doing art for love or for money:

“…I decided that I’d do my best in future not to write books just for the money. If you didn’t get the money, then you didn’t have anything. And if I did work that I was proud of and I didn’t get the money, at least I’d have the work. Every now and then, I forget that rule and whenever I do, the Universe kicks me hard and reminds me. I don’t know that it’s an issue for anybody but me, but it’s true that nothing I did where the only reason for doing it was the money was ever worth it except as bitter experience. Usually I didn’t wind up getting the money either.”

The whole video is a gem, if you have 20 free minutes.

How To Know You Are An Artist

According to Elizabeth Hand, these are the symptoms of being an artist:

1 – Interested in everything, generally, and nothing specifically.
2 – Feel like you might die in a 9-5.
3 – homework?
4 – can only commit fully to your own projects.
5 – mostly only interested in your own ideas.
6 – have a burning unyielding desire to make stuff constantly – it doesn’t even matter what.
7 – an inability to find work day tasks important.
8 – A weird mental misfire that prevents the brain from associating survival with a paycheck.

Read the rest of  her hilarious post here.