Q - Staircase Wit: In your unpublished career (or published too, I suppose), what did you do when you got a bit discouraged? Writing has a lot of ups and downs for me. Some days, the writing goes well and the sun seems to shine just a little brighter. But sometimes it can be disheartening, lonely, frustrating—yet still, somehow, an activity without equal. How did you get through those moments when the going got tough?”
A - Brandon Sanderson: ”I feel this too, to an extent. Every writer does. A few things really helped me. The first, and most important, was to decide once and for all that I was writing for ME. Not for a market, not for my friends, and not even to get published. For ME. I decided that even if I never sold a single book, I’d keep doing this until I died.
After that, I could focus only on the work. Now, that doesn’t remove all of the feelings of depression, because it’s still easy to feel that your writing quality is not what it should be. (Or that a story is broken, or that you just can’t get past this certain point in a book.) The trick there was often to tell myself that I didn’t have to put what I wrote on a certain day in the book. I just had to write. If it turned out terrible, that was okay. I could toss that scene and try another.
Coming to the realization that it was okay to fail was a big help to my writing.”
-Brandon Sanderson, Reddit AMA 2011