I’ve been reading a lot of Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive series. I’ve gone through Way of Kings, bled through Words of Radiance until the end where I cheered. And now I’ve started Oathbringer. All of this since finishing what I felt was the final draft of my book.
As it happens, I was incredibly wrong. On a number of counts, but mainly that I had arrived at my destination. What I will say is that The Stormlight Archives words that need be spoken resonate within me. Well, one phrase.
Journey before destination.
I have gotten so caught up in the destination that I’ve neglected the journey. I have rushed and produced what I now see as an inferior product. I didn’t take time to enjoy the act of crafting — something I DO take time to enjoy when making jewelry or painting. I didn’t take time to consider what I want to be and how I want to be perceived.
Do I want to be a young adult author? Or do I want to be a sci-fi author? Fantasy? What kind of stories do I want to write? What resonates within me?
The answer is never simple and one that’s discovered through journey, not destination. I’d lost sight of that, and focused on “I want to be published! I want to be an author! I will rush to the finish to get what I want!” That never does anyone well, and while I will say that my final product was not terrible, it was not great. It was not discovered through the journey. It was not the best that I could be. It was not worthy of being sent to agents in the hope of finding a champion.
It was the shortest path to a supposed destination I thought I wanted. I don’t want that destination anymore — not that I don’t want to be published, or that I have lost sight of my dream, but that I don’t want a destination I rushed towards.
I feel a bit like Kaladin, in the stories. For his ups and downs resonate so well with me — it is easy to become what Kaladin expresses as the ‘wretch.’ To lie down and give up, to turn into nothingness with nothing battering at the senses. But even my words here are relics of how comprehensive the storytelling is that I can really connect to these characters.
I want to discover that ability on my own. I want to be like Jasnah, owning the world through action and giving not a wit to what others say.
I can do it, I say. I can take the time to journey and relish in the mistakes and missteps I make. I can craft something that may not be magnificent in terms of what else is around it. It will be majestic to me because I will have woven my experiences through it. Maybe my characters will never be as vibrant as some, but they will be as human as I can make them.
It is my first journey. I will never get another like it, and I do my book and myself a disservice by rushing towards it at a speed that denies the ability to experience it.
Thank you, Brandon Sanderson, for your books and your forward at the beginning of Oathbringer for reminding me who I wanted to be. I had lost it, but now I’ve found it.
And to that, I will enjoy every step in the recreation of this book. I will enjoy bringing the characters to life. And it will take as long as it takes, for it is my journey and none others.
So it begins.