How to procrastinate #11: Vanessa Gebbie

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How long did it take you to write your first book?

Erm… it was short stories, written over four years, in among novel bits and so on and so forth. But the question sounds like I sat down and wrote a draft of a collection, then revised and focussed, etc etc – when actually it was nothing like that!

What’s your worst procrastinating habit?

Answering interview questions 🙂 Fiddling on the laptop.

How do you stop yourself doing it?

Um…and installing software to block the internet for fixed amounts of time. Then discovering you can reboot and delete the software, and on it goes.

Do you listen to the interminable Inner Critic? How do you keep him/her quiet?

Yes. We argue. Constantly.  I remind him (it IS a bloke) that he is very useful indeed at the right times. Indeed, indispensable. Like blokes are. Some of the time. This one is indispensable when I am rewriting, editing, because he lets me see the work as others will. Other times, I shut him up by turning off the screen when I type, or turning the font to white.

Quick tip for aspiring writers?

Don’t compare your journey ‘up the ladder’ with anyone else’s. There will always be people higher up than you, and also helluva lot of people lower down. Keep your eyes firmly on the job in hand.


Vanessa Gebbie is a writer. A recent review called her work ‘uncategoriseable’ which means she will always be poor – but her published books include a novel, two collections of short fictions, a collection of poetry, a little book of illustrated flashes (or maybe they are prose poems – who knows? Definition is in the gift of the reader not the writer. 🙂 ). She is also contributing editor of Short Circuit, Guide to the Art of the Short Story editions i and ii (Salt). She teaches widely.  

Follow Vanessa on Twitter @VanessaGebbie

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