How to procrastinate #2: Martine McDonagh

How long did it take you to write your first novel?
It took about seven years from first word to publication. There was no sense of urgency, I just wanted to get it right, or as right as possible.

What’s your worst procrastinating habit?
I’m not someone who does housework to put off writing, I write to avoid housework. I only procrastinate when I’m getting ready to begin a long phase of work and really I think it’s as important a part of the process as research or making sure you have ink in your printer, a bit like those funny limbering up routines some of the athletes were doing at the Olympics. Often I procrastinate by sitting in a cafe chatting with writer friends about not writing, which I would say is my best procrastination habit.

How do you stop yourself doing it?
I don’t. Once I get stuck into writing I’m usually pretty disciplined about it so I let myself enjoy the procrastination phase.

Do you listen to the interminable Inner Critic? How do you keep him/her quiet?
If I ask her a question, I listen to the answer, and if I have a difference of opinion with someone about my work then I might give Mrs. Inner Critic the power of veto. But most of the time I tend to ignore her because I know how fickle and self-contradictory she is.

Quick tip for aspiring writers?
I find that trying to write without adverbs always makes me work a bit harder.

Martine McDonagh has worked in the music industry for 25 years. Her first novel I have waited, and you have come was first published in 2006 by Myriad Editions and a new edition was released this year.

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