As writers and as people, we constantly work to better ourselves. We develop our craft. We try to be nicer. Usually, these are two different goals that must be achieved separately. However, sometimes we can improve both areas of our lives at once.
Learning patience is essential to staying a "sane" writer. Everything about the book business is slow. You have to wait to hear back from beta readers, critique partners, agents, editors, publishers, reviewers. It takes months for a book to be published even after it's been sold.
But patience is a good thing to have for non-writing related interactions as well. It makes you a better business negotiator and customer service representative. Your own personal relationships will benefit from better communication and less frustration.
The ability to listen also helps in the examples above. Writers learn to listen in an attempt to garner experiences for their writing. Many writers have mastered the art of eavesdropping. In this way, they study realistic dialogue and displays of emotion.
Beyond outward people skills, writers foster a better general understanding of people. It's easy for us to put ourselves in someone else's shoes. If it wasn't, it'd be impossible for us to write our stories. Writers know that everyone thinks and reacts differently. That everyone has a reason for doing what they do. It's a small switch from utilizing this way of thinking in their work to exercising it in their day-to-day confrontations.
Writers also know that no one is perfect. Everyone has flaws. And writers have learned to see the beauty in those flaws. A perfect character is boring. It's one of the first things a writer learns. It's a rule that applies to real people just as well. Our blemishes shape us into who we are. A writer recognizes that.
I'm in no way saying that writers are superior human beings who trail rainbows in their wake. I myself can be rather moody and I'm not always the most fun to be around. But I'm still growing, still "trying to be nicer," as we all are, and I think writing urges that along.
What about you? Does writing make you a better person?