My Top 3 Neil Gaiman Recommendations For Long-Time Success Authors

A long journey needs a solid process.

Photo by Susan Q Yin on Unsplash

1 Million Bad Words

You need to write out the 1 million bad words so the really brilliant words can start to surface. That’s what Neil Gaiman recommends in his MasterClass course. It resonates with the idea that with practice and experience, you can get to mastery. There’s also the concept of 10,000 hours. If you have studied, trained, and put into practice a skill, craft, or art form for more than 10,000 hours, then you should have mastered it. Then you’re playing upfront; before that, you’re only “aspiring.”

It’s kind of like that with the 1 million words. For my fantasy series, I have 18 volumes planned. With that and my blog articles, I should hit the 1 million words.

For me, it’s important to have a goal.

It motivates me and with my strategy of writing at least 1,000 words every day, I should reach that goal within 2 years.

Find Your Process

I’ve known the calling to be a writer for a long time. But it took a few helpless stumbling attempts before I found the two ways that work for me to follow that calling.

The first path is: being an author of dystopian fantasy novels

The second path is: blogging on Medium

Both paths need a purpose. A theme and a reason why I write.

As a novelist, you should find YOUR THEME.

The one main message that defines me as a writer. What do I stand for and what fundamental thoughts and lessons do I want to send out into the world?

For me it is this:

We as humans should always strive for progress and advancement, but beware! Our security and prosperity are based on highly optimized and fragile systems. Please let’s appreciate what we have and use it wisely.

Find Your Playground

I have chosen my sub-genres as an author: Dystopia meets Fantasy.

Dystopias remind us that everything is perishable.

Fantasy reminds us that anything is possible.

It speaks to my fears and my hopes

I’m sure it’s not just Neil Gaiman who recommends: find YOUR THEME, your reason for taking it upon yourself to write at least one million (bad) words.

Take your time finding your own theme.

Chances are, in the depths of your heart, you’ve known it for a long time.

  • What do you know well?
  • What have you read a lot about?
  • What are your own life slogans?
  • What did you spend a lot of time on between the ages of 10 and 16? Before the widespread belief that you have to work hard in life because you don’t get anything for free, and therefore need a job or otherwise have to limit your dreams, also took root in your heart?
  • What was your favorite topic at the time?

These are just a few questions that can lead you to your heart theme. This process can take a few months or even years. For me, it was like that, that I was always sure about the topic. But it was exactly the ingrained restrictions like

“you can’t make money with it”

or

“stop dreaming”

that kept me from pursuing my topic with full commitment.

Find Your Why

What would you occupy yourself with if money was not an issue and your comfortable livelihood was taken care of?

Why would you bother with it?

By asking questions like these, you’re getting closer and closer to your heart’s subject and your mission as a writer.

I think it’s a permanent process rather than a sudden epiphany. If you work at it steadily, you’ll come closer and closer to your true calling and happiness in life.

The third recommendation from Neil Gaiman’s MasterClass that I would like to mention is:

Write down how you see the world.

I fulfill this with two activities in particular:

  1. Journal writing and
  2. blogging on Medium.

By now, I really appreciate this process. It organizes my thoughts and view of the world. I use it to reflect on my strategy and my further development. If I can entertain or inspire others with it and make money as I do on Medium, it’s a win-win-win situation.

Still A Hero?

“After the hero’s journey comes the artist’s journey,”

Steven Pressfield teaches us in his book “The artist's journey.”

To me, that means Get A Life!

The more experiences from different jobs, situations, conversations, relationships, adventures or countries the writer has in his backpack, the more authentically he can spellbind the readers in fictional stories.

In order for this life experience to be put into writing and read with pleasure, the author’s path demands constant training. On the one hand with a lot of reading, on the other hand with targeted further education in specialist books, networking with other authors, online courses, and critical reflection on one’s own work.

Work While Sleeping

I am particularly interested in the way my subconscious mind works. I try to give tasks to my creative subconscious. One day I ask it a question, which answers itself through the keyboard on the screen a few days later during my trance-like writing mode.

The unconscious mind keeps working even when I’m not thinking about it.

Since I’ve come to trust this creative process, I’ve been even happier with my results. My destiny to be a writer is more solidified every day as a consequence.

I wish you all the best in all your adventures!

Peter

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Peter_sDreams

Peter_sDreams

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