Bookbanter Column: Brandon Sanderson: The Hardest Working Writer I Know

Writing books isn’t easy; anyone who tells you otherwise either hasn’t done it, or is an idiot because they haven’t actually done it.

And when an author gets published and fully begins their publishing career, things don’t get a lot easier.

Yes, if one is making enough money, one is able quit their day job and write full time, which sounds wonderful.

But it’s also a lot of hard work, from sitting down and doing all the actual writing, to the editing and revising, then meeting with agents and editors and further revising, then copyediting and proof reading, then publication and all the PR associated with it, then the book tour, and during the publication and PR of the published novel, the author is already working on the next novel.

Brandon Sanderson is one of those authors who has worked very hard to get where he is, and as a result is a New York Times bestselling author and arguably one of the best fantasy writers in the business today.

And there’s not a day that goes by that Sanderson isn’t thankful for this and feels that the people who made it happen are his readers, and his job is to keep writing and writing, because he loves to do it, but also because the readers want more books, and they are the ones who made him a bestselling author.  On the writing podcast Writing Excuses Sanderson does with fellow friends and authors, Dan Wells (I am Not a Serial Killer), Howard Tayler (Schlock Mercenary comic series) and Mary Robinette Kowall (Shades of Milk and Honey), there have been numerous occasions over the years that the podcast has run where Sanderson has said exactly this.

Sanderson published his first novel, Elantris, in 2005.

Now, eight or so years later, he has since published: three books in the Mistborn Trilogy, as well as the first book in the continuing Mistborn world; four books in the Alcatraz young adult series; the final three books in the epic Wheel of Time series; the first book in his Stormlight Archive series, The Way of Kings; and a stand-alone novel, Warbreaker.  And when you take into account that almost all of Sanderson’s books are 650+ pages, that works out to a lot of writing.  He has also published six novellas, some of which are from projects he likes to work on in between books.  Scheduled for publication in 2013, he has: a young adult novel, The Rithmatist in May; the first in a young adult trilogy, Steelheart, in the fall; and the planned publication of the second of the Stormlight Archive, Words of Radiance, due sometime later this year.

When I first interviewed him in October 2008, it was at the Borders store I worked at.  He had just finished a signing with his friend and author, David Farland.  They’d driven all the way from Utah to California with multiple signings along the way.  There were about twenty or thirty delighted people at the signing.  In the interview, Sanderson talked about his writing schedule: his morning begins when he wakes around 10am, and then he begins his day with various author duties that are not writing, and any necessary household chores.  Then once the kids come home, it’s daddy time, as he takes care of them with his wife.  And then once everyone has been put to bed and is asleep, around 9pm, it’s the start of his writing time, which he does until 4am, at then goes to bed.  He has kept to this schedule for years and with six or seven hours of steady writing time this has given him ability to get all this writing done.

When I interviewed Brandon Sanderson again in November 2010 when he was on his book tour for Towers of Midnight, it was a very different scene.

The signing was at a Barnes & Noble.  Arriving there a half hour before the interview, I could see the place was already filling up fast.  I learned that due to the high turnout it would only be a signing, there would be no reading.

When the time for the interview came, I was ushered into a back room, like I was being taken to see a big celebrity, where I conducted the interview.

Compare this to the time I interviewed him 2008, when we recorded the interview sitting in a couple of chairs in front of where he’d done his reading and signing; times had certainly changed for Sanderson.

I believe Sanderson has since changed his writing schedule around to fit more with his now even busier life as a big bestselling author.  But you can see from the many books he has published in a relatively short time, as well as what he has slated for this year, that he works hard and writes a lot.  All his books have been high quality and worth the read.  And I know he continues to be ever thankful that his readers love his books and writing, giving him the chance to keep doing what he loves to do, which is write.

Originally published on Forces of Geek.

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