I met Brandon Sanderson last Friday. In addition to the many stories he’s written, he’s also partially responsible for a podcast called Writing Excuses, which offers help to people like me who want to write fiction. It’s a great podcast; I listen to it a lot.
Since he’s so helpful online, and is willing to meet people in person to sign his books, I thought I’d ask him for some writing advice. He said this early in the evening, when he was just chatting with everyone, and reiterated it for me later, so it must be important. In any case, it makes a lot of sense. I’ll need to paraphrase it, because I didn’t record him, but it goes something like this:
Many people, when they are writing, tend to think of the piece they’re writing as the product when they should be thinking of themselves as the product. The piece itself may or may not turn out to be wonderful, and the writer may or may not sell it, but with everything you write, you develop as a writer. You get better and learn from everything you do. So think of yourself as the product.
My takeaway from that is—writing is process; writer is product, or the sum of the process. There’s always hope!
I like it.