How to procrastinate #7: Jo Gatford

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

Well, I started the first draft just after my first son was born and he’ll be six in July so… too long. But there was a load of other stuff going on within that time-frame too, such as another baby, working stupid hours, and spending too much time on the internet, which leads us seamlessly to your next question.

What’s your worst procrastinating habit?

It’s probably a bit facetious to say ‘not writing’ so I’ll stick to ‘the internet’. My excuse is that I use it constantly for work and therefore can’t leave it alone, but really I’m just a weak, weak human being.

How do you stop yourself doing it?

By running away to a cafe/library/cave where there is no WiFi.

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

She knows her place: duct taped up in the corner. It’s my belief that if you’re actually going to achieve what you want to achieve, there’s no room for self-doubt. And, conversely, in the absence of your inner critic, you have to learn how to be objective about your own work. It’s a fine balance between complacency/delusions of grandeur and self-flagellation/paranoia. When you work out how to accomplish that, let me know.

Quick tip for aspiring writers?

Don’t try to write like someone else. If there are authors you adore, pick apart their writing to see what makes it so fantastic and start from there, but if you want your writing to flow properly you need to find your own voice.


Jo Gatford wants to live on your bookshelf. Her debut novel, White Lies, was published by Legend Press in 2014. You can find her short stories and flash fiction in Litro, Open Pen, SmokeLong Quarterly, and elsewhere. She lives in Brighton where she wrangles two insomniac children and writes sweary social media content for rude cartoonists.

Website: www.jogatford.com

Twitter: @jmgatford

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