Margaret Banford

Margaret Banford lives in perpetual fear of the mountain of books she lives in collapsing. Someone who love debate, her favourite subjects include philosophy, politics, music and drama When not writing, Margaret spends her time playing the piano and baking cakes that make grown men cry.

In part one, we looked at the hashtag #tenthingsnottosaytoawriter, and discussed one of the problems people seem to have in seeing writing as a legitimate profession.

Another reason, that can be linked to exposure, is ignorance.  Many people assume, rightly or wrongly, that there is nothing to writing - you just sit down with pen, paper and a pot of tea and set to it.

As any writer will immediately tell you, this isn't true.  Whether they are being sarcastic or not will vary depending on a number of factors, which includes how much coffe they have had, but they will all tell you just how wrong you are in your assumptions about the easiness inherent in their chosen profession.

Some people will protest the use of the word 'ignorance', and they're right - it is a harsh and judgemental word to use, but I think its use is warranted.

Take the story I am working on just now, for example. In the past two weeks I have created a list of twenty three books to read which will (I'm hoping) allow me to build the workld of the story in a very general sense.  Only when those books are completed will I think about more specific details, at which point I will do more research.

This is where the ignorance comes in, I think.  To me, reading a book on cults is research - to an outsider who either isn't aware of my story ideas or is and simply thinks I should be writing, reading a book is simply that - reading.  It has nothing to do with work.

This tallies with many of the tweets recorded in the hastag which had words to the effect of 'I wish I had the time to read so much'.  People don't realise that in this particular case, reading is very much work.  Not only that, it is important work if I and other authors want our world building to be the best it can be. 

But to the majority of the public, reading is a leisure activity, not a work one.  And until that changes, writers will continue to be viewed as lazy.

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