Looking back, what would you say was the 'thing' that took you from aspiring to that next level? Was it an insight, a technique, networking, the 'long hard slog'? What made Margaret Atwood the writer she is?
Hello: I started in 1956 when I was 16.. no networking then! No "creative writing" taught! I'd have to say it was a combination of ignorance (nobody said how hard it would be), a blank slate ("writer" was not much of a job description in Canada then, or not that I could see), and the long hard slog. Reading a lot - a lot! - was certainly the gateway. And my family were story-tellers. Also they tended to be minor eccentrics, which meant that "Do what you want, even if others may think it's odd" was acceptable to them. Coming from Nova Scotia probably helped with that. And having a mother who'd gone her own way, a way that involved horses, canoes, fishing, the wild woods, and a dislike of ladies' hats.