Quotes / Writing Advice / Writing Inspiration

No Free Lunch

I’ve quoted Margaret Atwood before. She seems to come out with a lot of quotable things. I think she makes a good point here:

You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality. The 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.

It’s easy to pull out the excuses with writing. Writing is damn hard. But that doesn’t mean you get to fall in a heap when it gets painful.

I’ve been guilty of sitting at my desk with my head in my hands, with no idea what I’m doing. I’ve been guilty of asking people ‘Why did I have to make this story so complicated?’

But there’s always a point when you have to knuckle down, push through the rubbish, and come out the other side. I think that’s what Atwood was getting at. We write on our own and we do this to ourselves. And if we can’t handle the masochism, get out of the Word document.


4 thoughts on “No Free Lunch

  1. Hemingway once begged a reporter to keep his fans under the illusion that writing came naturally to him -“don’t tell them the horrible truth”, he said. Well at least we’re in good company…

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