I confess, I’ve never read any of Brandon Sanderson‘s work. That’s not to say, I wouldn’t be interested in reading any of his stuff, I just haven’t as of this post.
(Side note: After visiting Mr. Sanderson’s website I discovered that he offers some of his work for free. SWEET!)
However, when I saw he published his writing class lectures on YouTube, I was instantly intrigued. I’ve watched enough YouTube videos where people talk about his lecture series to want to watch them for myself.
The first one is an introduction:
And by introduction, it means he talks about the writing life. He talks about how he got started in writing and the number of years he toiled away before he was discovered and now he’s a best-selling author.
Every writer’s dream, am I right?
But he also said something really interesting – writing is what you make of it. For example, for me, writing is fun. I get satisfaction out of creating something out of nothing. I like my characters and I like putting them into various situations. I write because … I don’t know, I just feel like I NEED to, sometimes. Sure, I would love to be published at some point in my life but it’s not WHY I write. In fact, I would be, and perhaps I will someday, perfectly fine to post a serial story on my blog, just for kicks. I know other writers would be horrified at the thought of putting their work on the Internet because once you do that, it sort of kills your chances of publishing it later. But I’m not really into writing with the goal of being published. Sure. I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that the thought of being published and actually making money from my work wouldn’t be a dream come true, but it’s not my sole goal. I just want to write because I enjoy it. And perhaps, other people will enjoy reading it.
Brandon also talks about the importance of making time for “real” life outside your work. Relationships, friendships, engaging with the world as a whole. Because doing that not only gives you fodder for stories, but it makes your writing more relatable.
He talks about being disciplined in your writing schedule and figuring out what works best for you. I really appreciated the fact that he talked about writing advice and how one author will suggest you try this and another author will tell you that doing this will be better, but ultimately, you have to figure out what works best for YOU. We are all different and we all approach writing from various points of view, from life experiences. There is no right or wrong way to write. I also really appreciated the fact that he said if you write, then you’re a writer. You don’t have to be published, and/or make money, to be a writer.
Nothing annoys me more than to watch writers stick their noses up in the air and claim that to truly be a writer, you must be A. B. C. I disagree. If you write, journal, whatever, you’re a writer. Because creating something out of nothing is HARD.
He also talked about leaving brain space for writing. This is my current problem. I work in healthcare and that takes up A LOT of brain space. I have very little space, and energy, to be creative when I get home from work. So often, I don’t write a lot during the week. I’m one of those weekend writers that he mentions in the class. That is when I have the most, time, energy, and brain space to write something.
I count what I do on this blog as writing. Again, writing these blog posts takes creative energy. I would like to write more fiction, and I will try and do that, but I feel like I need to clear my brain space first and to do that, I need to dump all of my other thoughts and ideas into blog posts first. Once I’ve done that, I feel refreshed and ready to invite my creative muse in for a visit.
I appreciated how he didn’t discourage new writers but at the same time expressed realistic expectations. You can’t become a writer if you don’t write. It’s fun to TALK about wanting to be a writer, but to actually sit down and write something, is a whole new ballgame.
Discovery and architect writing. Meaning – discovery = pantser and architect = outliner. I feel like I fall closer to being a discovery writer than an architect, though I’m not opposed to outlining … a bit.
And writing groups … I’d like to become part of a writing group at some point. I think that’s why I really like the Word Nerds because I think it would be fun to belong to a group of people that are friendly, supportive and helpful when critiquing my work. My problem is, I have no idea where to find that online. Any suggestions?
Even though Brandon doesn’t really get into the nitty-gritty of writing in this lecture, I think it’s important to hear, all the same. He talks about the importance of getting to know YOU, the writer, your habits and why experimenting with different ways to write will help you learn what works and what doesn’t work for you.
Brandon is more focused on science fiction and fantasy and though I don’t write these genres, I’m not opposed to trying them at some point. But his writing advice can be applied to whatever genre that interests you. I’m looking forward to watching more.
Did you learn anything from this lecture? If so, what? What type of writer are you: discovery, architect, or, somewhere in between?