By: Alexis Schreiber
On Gaiman’s Twitter bio it reads, “Will eventually grow up and get a real job. Until then, will keep making things up and writing them down.”
With 2.7 million followers and counting, his seemingly sarcastic and purposely understated statement about his career and work is almost silly, yet it’s inspiring and humbling given the wide range of accomplishments and contributions he’s made as a writer.
For more than a quarter of a century, the award-winning author has been creating and crafting colorful and captive fiction. He’s credited with being one of the creators of modern comics and listed in the Dictionary of Literary Biography as one of the top 10 living postmodern writers. Gaiman is a prolific creator of works of prose, poetry, film, journalism, comics, song lyrics and drama according to American Library Association.
In a 2019 MasterClass session, a private American online education platform, he explains, “As far as I’m concerned, any success I have achieved as a writer of fiction, I have achieved because I’m an honest writer of fiction because my people are real people because you care about them.”
Gaiman didn’t go to college, instead, he got his start in England as a journalist-for-hire. There he wrote biographies on Duran in 1984 and then on Douglas Adams in 1988. Following this he wrote the opening of Good Omens, the comic novel he collaborated on with fellow English author Terry Pratchett, and it took off from there. It was released in 1990 and listed among the BBC’s Big Read Top 100 Books.
Despite all of the awards and notoriety, The New York Times bestselling author credits his success to libraries for fostering a life-long love of reading and writing.
In 2012, Gaiman gave The Reading Agency annual lecture on the future of reading and libraries. He said, “I’m going to make an impassioned plea for people to understand what libraries and librarians are, and to preserve both of these things.” He goes on to say that fiction is “a gateway drug to reading.” In 2013, Gaiman noted that literacy is more important than ever before.
One of Gaiman’s favorite sayings is when he talks about Albert Einstein and how he was asked once the question, “How we could make our children intelligent?” Gaiman said Einstein’s reply was simple: “If you want your children to be intelligent read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” Gaiman said Einstein understood the value of reading, and of imagination and that is what he hopes for the future.
As for advice he gives to young writers? “You write. You finish what you write. Sooner or later, if you don’t give up and you have some measurable amount of ability or talent or luck, you get published.”