I had intended to write a post about the things I learned in the process of self-publishing my book. And someday I will. Once I figure out what those things are and what they mean. And how to say them.
But that’s for another day. I’m sure you all are as tired of hearing about it as I am of telling you about it. Even so, this post is related to that effort.
Every year, Neil Gaiman writes a wish for the New Year. These posts are unfailingly excellent, in their simplicity and honesty and charm, but also in their ability to inspire the artist in each of us.
Drawing attention to something Gaiman wrote on his blog feels as absurd and presumptuous as re-tweeting something he said on twitter. I mean, really, the man has 1.67 million followers on twitter. Probably more than that read his blog. Is there anyone who hasn’t seen this?
Actually, yes. I suspect there are a few people who read my blog who don’t read his. Who might not even be entirely sure of who he is. In other words, people who don’t read any of the forty-billion genres in which he writes and people who are not writers.
There are two or three. And yes, they read my blog. Probably.
But the main reason I want to share a part of Gaiman’s 2012 post over here is because it struck a very personal chord with me this year, more so even than other years, and that’s saying something. Because this is something I decided for myself last fall. Not to set out to make a mistake, necessarily — I doubt anyone intends to do that — but to be willing to do something that might be a mistake. And do it anyway. With the intention that if it turned out to be a mistake, it would be the most awesome and remarkable and unique mistake in the entire history of– well, of all my mistakes at least. So far.
Hell, Gaiman says it better:
And for this year, my wish for each of us is small and very simple.
And it’s this.
I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.
So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.
Feels amazing to realize Neil Gaiman finally caught up with me. [I'm kidding, people] But it does feel like a small benediction. And sometimes that’s all we need.
The rest of his post — yes, there’s more to it, including wishes from past years — can be found here. Go read it. There’s a reason he has all those followers.
And then go out and make some mistakes of your own. Because I could use the company. But mostly because it feels incredibly good to Do Something.