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handmaidstale1People don’t often think about what they need to write. Just a great idea and 10,000 hours, right? They don’t realize that writing requires tools, always. And not the ones that all those websites have been trying to sell you, either.

See what Margaret Atwood has to say:

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.

Here’s the thing, though. It’s different for every writer. Maybe you’re one of those people born knowing the right word. If so, chuck the thesaurus and move on.

But she’s right about the no-whining thing. Get on with it. Writing still beats doing everything else out there. Except maybe velociraptor wrangler; that’d be cool.

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