11 Times Neil Gaiman Gave The Best Writing Advice

You haven't made it as a writer until someone is asking you for the tricks of the trade. Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Annie Dillard and more have published books about the craft, but when I want to be inspired, I scour books and blogs for writing advice from Neil Gaiman.

Neil Gaiman has received an almost countless number of awards for his short stories, novels, comic books, and graphic novels. The only thing more impressive than his resume is his books themselves. From The Sandman to The Graveyard Book , American Gods to Coraline , Gaiman's books are overflowing with imagination, unforgettable characters, and superb writing. How does he do it?

Luckily, Gaiman isn't stingy about sharing the keys to his success. Through interviews, essays, his own blog, and even Tumblr, Gaiman has shared his inspirations and motivations for writing, his theories on what makes a writer successful, the tricks and techniques every writer should know, and the rules of writing by which he lives.

So if you need a little inspiration or an extra push to get you started, here are 11 pieces of Neil Gaiman writing advice that just might help you publish a bestseller of your very own.

1. “This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It's that easy, and that hard.”

— Neil Gaiman, "8 Rules of Writing"

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2. "Read everything you can lay your hands on. Read the ‘classics’ in whatever areas of writing you want to work in, so you know what the high points are. Read outside your areas of comfort, so you know what else is out there. Read."

— Neil Gaiman, Tumblr

3. "Tell your story. Don’t try and tell the stories that other people can tell. Because [as a] starting writer, you always start out with other people’s voices — you’ve been reading other people for years… But, as quickly as you can, start telling the stories that only you can tell — because there will always be better writers than you, there will always be smarter writers than you … but you are the only you."

Neil Gaiman, Nerdist Podcast

4. “We who make stories know that we tell lies for a living. But they are good lies that say true things, and we owe it to our readers to build them as best we can. Because somewhere out there is someone who needs that story. Someone who will grow up with a different landscape, who without that story will be a different person. And who with that story may have hope, or wisdom, or kindness, or comfort. And that is why we write.”

— Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book

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5. "How do you do it? You do it. You write. You finish what you write."

—Neil Gaiman, "Advice to Authors"

6. ""Don’t obsess over grammar. If you have to obsess, obsess over clarity. Write as clearly as you can. When it works, there’s a magic in writing: you can get an idea out of your head and into someone else’s. That’s your goal."

Neil Gaiman, Tumblr

7. “Write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly and tell it as best you can. I'm not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.”

— Neil Gaiman, "8 Rules of Writing"

Michael Buckner/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

8. "If you’re only going to write when you’re inspired, you may be a fairly decent poet, but you will never be a novelist — because you’re going to have to make your word count today, and those words aren’t going to wait for you, whether you’re inspired or not."

Neil Gaiman, Nerdist Podcast

9. “Writing's a lot like cooking. Sometimes the cake won't rise, no matter what you do, and every now and again the cake tastes better than you ever could have dreamed it would.”

― Neil Gaiman, Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders

Darryl James/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

10. "The best advice I can give on this is, once it's done, to put it away until you can read it with new eyes. Finish the short story, print it out, then put it in a drawer and write other things. When you're ready, pick it up and read it, as if you've never read it before. If there are things you aren't satisfied with as a reader, go in and fix them as a writer: that's revision."

—Neil Gaiman, "Advice to Authors"