Let me start by saying Brandon Sanderson is the person I wish I was. Not only does he have the universe to create a compelling story, but he has the motivation to write it, too. And write he does. He published his first novel, Elantris, in 2005, (just finished it yesterday, in fact) and since then has published a total of thirty-six works of at least novella length. Let me put that into perspective. He has published on average three books a year for eleven years. He is working on about a dozen book series right now (not exaggerating with that) and despite the sheer volume of text the man produces, the size of the projects he’s tackled means that a series will often have to wait four or five years for a sequel to be released. The sequel for Elantris, for example, doesn’t even have a title yet. (Emperor’s Soul, a novella in the same universe, isn’t really a “sequel” to the original book.) The real sequel is scheduled to release 2020, fifteen years after the original. The fifth book in a different, ten book series series is scheduled for 2021, ten years after the original. By those numbers, the Stormlight Archive will take at least twenty years to finish. So 2031 at best, still fifteen years away.
But more than that, around seven of the series he’s currently working on are in the same universe, called the Cosmere. Eventually, all of these books will bleed together into one, enormous, awesome series. I feel as though I was born in the perfect time to watch another legend of Tolkien proportions to rise, but also at the worst possible time to gain entry into this craft. There’s no way my measly planet could compare with twelve planets each with at least as much backstory as mine all set in the same universe to combine into some “super Voltron” of the epic fantasy genre. With him only growing in popularity, I feel I’m running out of time to jump on the ship before it sets off.
But then I stop and think. Sanderson was almost thirty years old when he published his first novel. Yes, he loved reading and writing since childhood, which is an advantage he had over me, but if I go at his pace I have twelve years to board that ship. I’d have to be almost seventy percent older in order to actually start falling behind. I’d be willing to bet his Cosmere didn’t exist when he was fourteen. I wouldn’t put it past him to have thought that far ahead, but I doubt it.
Another thing about Sanderson is that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every one of his books, even when I’ve consciously tried not to. That’s especially impressive because when you don’t like something you look for more things to not like about it, but he has managed to captivate me in every series that I’ve picked up by him. It’s almost appalling how incredible a writer he is.
But once again, he was in his thirties before his real career started. I’m not falling behind, I actually have a head start. Realistically, it shouldn’t take me twelve years to find the motivation I need to start writing. I refuse to let that happen.
Besides, I shouldn’t be comparing myself to other people, either. I’m not Brandon Sanderson, and I never will be. I shouldn’t try to be like him, and I’m not. I’m just trying to be a better me. I feel like I’ve made this same point half a dozen times by now. Broken record much?