150 Neil Gaiman Quotes on Imagination, Hope, and Books

If you are a bookworm or an aspiring writer, you’ve found the right place, as we’ve compiled the best Neil Gaiman quotes to keep you inspired and motivated.

In this collection, we’ve gathered 150 of his most inspiring quotes about books, libraries, stories, and more.

We hope that you’ll learn a lot from his thoughts and ideas.

Neil Richard Gaiman, commonly known as Neil Gaiman, is an author, comic book creator, screenwriter, and voice actor who authored several books in the fantasy, horror, science fiction, and dark fantasy comedy genres.

He is also the first author to win both the Newbery and Carnegie medals. 

Let’s check these out.

And make sure to read these Elisabeth Elliot quotes and James Joyce quotes.

Best Neil Gaiman Quotes

1. “When you’re scared, but you still do it anyway, that’s brave.”

2. “Sometimes, you wake up. Sometimes, the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.”

3. “Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up.”

4. “Everybody has a secret world inside of them. I mean everybody. All of the people in the whole world, I mean everybody—no matter how dull and boring they are on the outside. Inside them, they’ve all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds—not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe.”

5. “There are so many fragile things, after all. People break so easily, and so do dreams and hearts.”

6. “Monsters come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are things people are scared of. Some of them are things that look like things people used to be scared of a long time ago. Sometimes, monsters are things people should be scared of, but they aren’t.”

7. “May your coming year be filled with magic, and dreams, and good madness.”

8. “You can take for granted that people know more or less what a street, a shop, a beach, a sky, an oak tree look like. Tell them what makes this one different.”

9. “It’s like the people who believe they’ll be happy if they go and live somewhere else, but who learn it doesn’t work that way. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you. If you see what I mean.”

10. “Life is always going to be stranger than fiction, because fiction has to be convincing, and life doesn’t.”

11. “You’re always you, and that doesn’t change, and you’re always changing, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

12. “Stories may well be lies, but they are good lies that say true things, and which can sometimes pay the rent.”

13. “You’re alive. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything.”

14. “Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.”

Inspirational Neil Gaiman Quotes

15. “We do what we do because of who we are. If we did otherwise, we would not be ourselves.”

16. “You don’t have to test everything to destruction just to see if you make it right.”

17. “You don’t pass or fail at being a person, dear.”

18. “Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here.”

19. “Fairy tales are more than true—not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

20. “Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do. Make good art.”

21. “When we hold each other, in the darkness, it doesn’t make the darkness go away. The bad things are still out there. The nightmares still walking. When we hold each other we feel not safe, but better. ‘It’s all right,’ we whisper, ‘I’m here, I love you.’ and we lie—’I’ll never leave you.’ For just a moment or two, the darkness doesn’t seem so bad.”

22. “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.”

23. “The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write, and draw, and build, and play, and dance, and live as only you can.”

24. “Sometimes, the best way to learn something is by doing it wrong and looking at what you did.”

25. “As sure as water’s wet and days are long and a friend will always disappoint you in the end.”

26. “People think dreams aren’t real just because they aren’t made of matter, of particles. Dreams are real. But they are made of viewpoints, of images, of memories and puns and lost hopes.”

27. “Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.”

28. “Face your life—its pain, its pleasure. Leave no path untaken.”

29. “The moment that you feel that just possibly, you are walking down the street naked, that’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.”

Related: Paulo Coelho Quotes

Motivational Neil Gaiman Quotes

30. “If you cannot be wise, pretend to be someone who is wise, and then just behave like they would.”

31. “You have to believe. Otherwise, it will never happen.”

32. “You can know anything. It’s all there. You just have to find it.”

33. “Whatever it takes to finish things, finish. You will learn more from a glorious failure than you ever will from something you never finished.”

34. “If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained.”

35. “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.”

36. “Do whatever you have to do to keep making art.”

37. “Let’s start a new tomorrow, today.”

38. “Fear is contagious. You can catch it. Sometimes, all it takes is for someone to say that they’re scared for the fear to become real.”

39. “Whatever you do, you have a thing that’s unique. You have the ability to make art.”

Related: Good Omens Quotes

Neil Gaiman Quotes About Life

40. “You get what anybody gets—you get a lifetime.”

41. “Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside, either. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless, and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. Truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.”

42. “It’s part of growing up, I suppose. You always have to leave something behind you.”

43. “Life is a disease—sexually transmitted, and invariably fatal.”

44. “Discontent is a good thing. Discontented people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different.”

45. “It may help to understand human affairs to be clear that most of the great triumphs and tragedies of history are caused, not by people being fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, but by people being fundamentally people.”

46. “I don’t want whatever I want. Nobody does. Not really. What kind of fun would it be if I just got everything I ever wanted just like that, and it didn’t mean anything? What then?”

47. “Are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at the stars because we are human?”

48. “Everybody is going to be dead one day, just give them time.”

49. “Sometimes, we can choose the paths we follow. Sometimes, our choices are made for us. And sometimes, we have no choice at all.”

50. “You’ve a good heart. Sometimes, that’s enough to see you safe wherever you go. But mostly, it’s not.”

51. “Life is life, and it is infinitely better than the alternative, or so we presume, for nobody returns to dispute it.”

52. “We are all wearing masks. That is what makes us interesting.”

53. “It has been said that civilization is 24 hours and 2 meals away from barbarism.”

54. “I must confess, I have always wondered what lay beyond life, my dear. Yeah, everybody wonders. And sooner or later, everybody gets to find out.”

Neil Gaiman Quotes on Ideas, Dreams, and Hope

55. “Sometimes, the way to do what you hope to do will be clear cut, and sometimes it will be almost impossible to decide whether or not you are doing the correct thing, because you’ll have to balance your goals and hopes with feeding yourself, paying debts, finding work, settling for what you can get.”

56. “Do not lose hope—what you seek will be found. Trust ghosts. Trust those that you have helped to help you in their turn. Trust dreams. Trust your heart, and trust your story.”

57. “I hate dreams. I don’t want any more dreams. I don’t want any more, anything.”

58. “And wisdom? Wisdom is no part of dreams, a lithe walker, though dreams are a part of the sum of each life’s experiences, which is the only wisdom that matters. But revelation? That is the province of dream. It can be yours, but only if your heart is strong.”

59. “We knew that it would soon be over, and so we put it all into a poem, to tell the universe who we were, and why we were here, and what we said and did and thought and dreamed and yearned for. We wrapped our dreams into words and patterned the words so that they would live forever, unforgettable.”

60. “Even dreams​​—the most delicate and intangible of things—can prove remarkably difficult to kill.”

61. “Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes and forgotten.”

62. “I believe that it is difficult to kill an idea because ideas are invisible and contagious, and they move fast.”

63. “You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.”

Neil Gaiman Quotes That Bring You to the World of Reading and Writing

64. “Read. Read anything. Read the things they say are good for you, and the things they claim are junk. You’ll find what you need to find. Just read.”

65. “I will write in words of fire. I will write them on your skin. I will write about desire. Write beginnings, write of sin.”

66. “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.”

67. “If bad reviews of whatever kind upset you, just don’t read them. It’s not like you’ve signed an agreement with the person buying the book to exchange your book for their opinion.”

68. “I don’t know what it’s like to read this book. I only know what it was like to live the writing of it.”

69. “You grow up reading about pirates, and cowboys, and spacemen and stuff, and just when you think the world’s full of amazing things, they tell you it’s really all dead whales, and chopped-down forests, and nuclear waste hanging about for millions of years.”

70. “The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity.”

71. “I make things up and write them down.”

72. “You write. That’s the hard bit that nobody sees.”

73. “When writing a novel, that’s pretty much entirely what life turns into—’House burned down. Car stolen. Cat exploded.’ Did 1500 easy words, so all in all it was a pretty good day.”

Neil Gaiman Quotes About Books and Libraries

74. “Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.”

75. “Libraries are our friends.”

76. “Rule number one—don’t fuck with librarians.”

77. “If you do not value libraries, then you do not value information or culture or wisdom. You are silencing the voices of the past and you are damaging the future.”

78. “I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.”

79. “More importantly, during your escape, books can also give you knowledge about the world and your predicament, give you weapons, give you armor—real things you can take back into your prison. Skills and knowledge and tools you can use to escape for real.”

80. “People tend to find books when they are ready for them.”

81. “After that, he had more or less stopped reading. You could not trust fiction. What good were books, if they couldn’t protect you from something like that?”

82. “It was as if some people believed there was a divide between the books that you were permitted to enjoy and the books that were good for you, and I was expected to choose sides. We were all expected to choose sides. And I didn’t believe it, and I still don’t. I was, and still am, on the side of books you love.”

83. “Most books on witchcraft will tell you that witches work naked. This is because most books on witchcraft were written by men.”

84. “Picking five favorite books is like picking the five body parts you’d most like not to lose.”

85. “Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them. And it’s much cheaper to buy somebody a book than it is to buy them the whole world!”

86. “Books were safer than other people anyway.”

87. “A book is a dream that you hold in your hands.”

88. “I do not believe that all books will or should migrate onto screens, as Douglas Adams once pointed out to me, more than 20 years before the Kindle turned up—a physical book is like a shark. Sharks are old—there were sharks in the ocean before the dinosaurs. And the reason there are still sharks around is that sharks are better at being sharks than anything else is.”

89. “What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore, it knows it’s not foolin’ a soul.”

Neil Gaiman Quotes to Give You Insight Into His Worldview

90. “Make your mistakes—next year and forever.”

91. “I lost some time once. It’s always in the last place you look for it.”

92. “Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, do it.”

93. “I can believe things that are true and things that aren’t true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they’re true or not.”

94. “Why are we talking about this good and evil? They’re just names for sides. We know that.”

95. “Not an option. You burned your bridges. So keep walking. Do your own time.”

96. “The imagination is a muscle. If it is not exercised, it atrophies.”

97. “It is a fool’s prerogative to utter truths that no one else will speak.”

98. “If you make art, people will talk about it. Some of the things they say will be nice, some won’t. You’ll already have made that art, and when they’re talking about the last thing you did, you should already be making the next thing.”

99. “Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job—it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper, or a blank screen, and quite often, the blank piece of paper wins.”

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

101. “And there never was an apple, in Adam’s opinion, that wasn’t worth the trouble you got into for eating it.”

102. “M is for magic. All the letters are if you put them together properly.”

103. “A library is a place that is a repository of information and gives every citizen equal access to it. That includes health information. And mental health information. It’s a community space. It’s a place of safety, a haven from the world.”

104. “I’ve never known anyone who was what he or she seemed; or at least, was only what he or she seemed. People carry worlds within them.”

Neil Gaiman Quotes That Tell Stories That Can Influence You

105. “Stories you read when you’re the right age never quite leave you. You may forget who wrote them or what the story was called. Sometimes, you’ll forget precisely what happened, but if a story touches you it will stay with you, haunting the places in your mind that you rarely ever visit.”

106. “We have the right—and the obligation—to tell old stories in our own ways because they are our stories.”

107. “I love stories where women save themselves.”

108. “Our worries, fears, and dreams make fantastic stories. Take them with you as you grow up.”

109. “I believe that stories are incredibly important, possibly in ways we don’t understand, in allowing us to make sense of our lives, in allowing us to escape our lives, in giving us empathy, and in creating the world that we live in.”

110. “Short stories are tiny windows into other worlds and other minds and dreams. They are journeys you can make to the far side of the universe and still be back in time for dinner.”

111. “Enjoy the things that never happened. Secure your own mask again after you read these stories, but do not forget to help others.”

112. “You don’t need princes to save you. I don’t have a lot of patience for stories in which women are rescued by men.”

113. “If someone tells you what a story is about, they are probably right. If they tell you that that is all a story is about, they are very definitely wrong.”

114. “I really don’t know what ‘I love you’ means. I think it means ‘Don’t leave me here alone.’”

Neil Gaiman Quotes on Fiction, Fairy Tales, and Myths

115. “Fiction gives us empathy—it puts us inside the minds of other people, gives us the gifts of seeing the world through their eyes. Fiction is a lie that tells us true things, over and over.”

116. “This is a work of fiction. Still, given an infinite number of possible worlds, it must be true on one of them. And if a story set in an infinite number of possible worlds is true in one of them, then it must be true in all of them. So maybe, it’s not as fictional as we think.”

117. “Fiction can show you a different world. It can take you somewhere you’ve never been. Once you’ve visited other worlds, like those who ate fairy fruit, you can never be entirely content with the world that you grew up in.“

118. “I’d like to say a few words about escapism. I hear the term bandied about as if it’s a bad thing. As if ‘escapist’ fiction is a cheap opiate used by the muddled and the foolish and the deluded, and the only fiction that is worthy, for adults or for children, is mimetic fiction, mirroring the worst of the world the reader finds herself in.”

119. “The magic and the danger of fiction in this—it allows us to see through other eyes. It takes us to places we have never been, allows us to care about, worry about, laugh with, and cry for people who do not, outside of the story, exist. There are people who think that things that happen in fiction do not really happen. These people are wrong.”

120. “It is good for children to find themselves facing the elements of a fairy tale—they are well-equipped to deal with these.”

121. “Remember that giants sleep too soundly, that witches are often betrayed by their appetites, dragons have one soft spot, somewhere, always; hearts can be well-hidden, and you can betray them with your tongue.”

122. “I liked myths. They weren’t adult stories and they weren’t children’s stories. They were better than that. They just were.”

Neil Gaiman Quotes About the World

123. “The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.”

124. “A world in which there are monsters, and ghosts, and things that want to steal your heart is a world in which there are angels, and dreams, and a world in which there is hope.”

125. “It means the world’s about as solid and as reliable as a layer of scum on the top of a well of black water which goes down forever, and there are things in the depths that I don’t even want to think about. It means more than that. It means that we’re just dolls.”

126. “It’s a given that we exist in a world where we have to live in continuity every day; no one is immune to that, in life or romance novels. By the same token, it’s not something I find terribly important.”

Neil Gaiman Quotes on Change

127. “Every lover is, in his heart, a madman; and, in his head, a minstrel.”

128. “Only the phoenix rises and does not descend. And everything changes. And nothing is truly lost.”

129. “If you can change the world, the world will change. Potential. Once you’re dead, it’s gone. Over. You’ve made what you’ve made, dreamed your dream, written your name. You may be buried here, you may even walk. But that potential is finished.”

Deep Neil Gaiman Quotes You’ll Love

130. “We all not only could know everything. We do. We just tell ourselves we don’t to make it all bearable.”

131. “Continuity isn’t actually something that I ever worry about. You use it where you need to, and you don’t use it where you don’t need to.”

132. “I believe that life is a game, that life is a cruel joke, and that life is what happens when you’re alive and that you might as well lie back and enjoy it.”

133. “Empathy is a tool for building people into groups—for allowing us to function as more than self-obsessed individuals.”

134. “I’ve known ambitious people with no aptitude for the thing they did. Most of whom, rather terrifyingly, tended to succeed.”

135. “I don’t think there is such a thing as a bad book for children.”

136. “As far as I’m concerned, the entire reason for becoming a writer is not having to get up in the morning.”

137. “In a perfect world, you could fuck people without giving them a piece of your heart. And every glittering kiss and every touch of flesh is another shard of heart you’ll never see again.”

138. “It is sometimes a mistake to climb; it is always a mistake never even to make the attempt. If you do not climb, you will not fall. This is true. But is it that bad to fail, that hard to fall?”

139. “When I started out, there were a lot of things I knew I couldn’t do, and a lot of things I only found out I couldn’t do by going and doing it. And no one was watching, and nobody cared.”

140. “All we have to believe with is our senses—the tools we use to perceive the world, our sight, our touch, our memory.”

141. “It has always been the prerogative of children and half-wits to point out that the emperor has no clothes. But the half-wit remains a half-wit, and the emperor remains an emperor.”

142. “The darkness that he entered this time was deep, and lit by a single star, and it was final.”

143. “Always worth it to have tried, even if you fail, even if you fall like a meteor forever. Better to have flamed in the darkness, to have inspired others, to have lived, than to have sat in the darkness, cursing the people who borrowed, but did not return, your candle.”

More Neil Gaiman Quotes

144. “A graveyard is not normally a democracy, and yet death is the great democracy.”

145. “I am selfish, private, and easily bored. Will this be a problem?”

146. “When I was a child, adults would tell me not to make things up, warning me of what would happen if I did. As far as I can tell so far, it seems to involve lots of foreign travel and not having to get up too early in the morning.”

147. “I think hell is something you carry around with you, not somewhere you go.”

148. “It’s a New Year and with it comes a fresh opportunity to shape our world. So this is my wish, a wish for me as much as it is a wish for you—in the world to come, let us be brave, let us walk into the dark without fear, and step into the unknown with smiles on our faces, even if we’re faking them. And whatever happens to us, whatever we make, whatever we learn, let us take joy in it. We can find joy in the world if it’s joy we’re looking for, we can take joy in the act of creation. So that is my wish for you, and for me. Bravery and joy.”

149. “I know that this is the internet, and we’re all anonymous and all that, but really. It doesn’t hurt to try to be nice.”

150. “Some things are too big to be seen; some emotions are too huge to be felt.”

Which of These Quotes Motivated You to Pursue Your Passion?

Letters and words are everywhere—from signages to directories, receipts to documents, text messages to emails, and more. Wherever we are, we are reading something.

Neil Gaiman is a reader—he loves to read because it gives him the relaxation, comfort, and creative outlet he needs. At the age of four, he was already reading on his own. Because of this, he was greatly influenced by several authors from whom he has taken his inspirations in writing.

Sometimes, we just have to take to reading to discover a whole new world that’s full of wonder. Maybe, through reading, we’ll even get the inspiration we need to pursue our dreams.

Did you learn something from Neil Gaiman? Have you read any of his books? Please, share your thoughts below.

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Karen Danao

Hi, I’m Karen, a content curator and writer for Quote Ambition; I’m also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, I’m someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics I love writing about! However, my true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.

With the many places I’ve been to, I found that love, inspiration, and happiness are some things that bring people together. No matter how different we are on the outside, I’m a true believer that our emotions don’t lie; if you dig deep into our psyche, we’re all the same inside.

This belief was further amplified when I joined Quote Ambition. Through the quotes I’ve read, collected, organized, and written about, I found that humans are resilient, creative, and compassionate.

We take from each others’ hearts and courage, and it’s through our individual experiences that we learn how to rise above our challenges and pain. In so many ways, Quote Ambition is a platform that allows people from all over the world to gain the inspiration they need anytime, anywhere!

You can find me on MuckRack and LinkedIn.