November 11, 2015

Wednesday Writing Wisdom (33) Margaret Atwood

"You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality. This latter means: there’s no free lunch. Writing is work. It’s also gambling. You don’t get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but ­essentially you’re on your own. ­Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don’t whine."


  Margaret Atwood
       (18 November 1939)
     Curious facts about

Her grade 12 English teacher, Miss Bessie Billings, had this to say about one of her early poems: "I can't understand a word of this, dear, so it must be good." Atwood was first published as a poet in 1961 with her collection Double Persephone. She admitted in a 1990 interview with The Paris Review that some of her poems led to novels: “I don’t think I solve problems in my poetry; I think I uncover the problems. Then the novel seems a process of working them out.”

As a child, she found Snow White traumatizing.

She has no particular writing routine, nor does she write every day. She always begins her writing with a pen or pencil and paper.

 She's the inventor of the LongPen, an electronic pen that

lets her sign books remotely.


  1. I shared your link on FB too. I love her quote, especially the don't whine part. I need reminding of that now and then;) I had a Miss Bessie in 5th grade. Thanks for the post, Carmen.

    1. Thank you, Flossie!
      I am glad you enjoy my posts.

  2. Like Flossie, I love her quote and her take on writing. I definitely need to be reminded of those facts now and then, especially when the going gets rough!

    1. I feel the same, Mae. Thank you for dropping by!