A Day in the Writing Life of… Maggie Gilbert

Welcome to another Day in the Writing Life of one of our RWA members. Today we welcome Maggie Gilbert.

Maggie Gilbert In one or two sentences, please tell us what genre you write in and what made you decide that particular one is your calling.

I write YA, NA and Adult contemporary romances set in Australia, mainly rural and small town/suburbs. This is a place and time I live in, so I feel comfortable writing about it. I love a good pop culture reference and finding familiar things in stories (big Stephen King fan) so that’s probably got a bit to do with it.

What time of the day do you write? Are you a morning, night-owl or anytime writer?

I tend to write at night, because I have a day job. On weekends, though, I will write as much as I can, at any time of day.

Where do you write? Do you have your own special place? Does the location vary?

I have a desk in our bedroom, next to my side of the bed, which is base camp – see photo. I also write at cafes, libraries, the food court at the mall etc, depending on family weekend plans.

Are you a plotter / planner or a pantser? Do you edit as you go or prefer to edit after completion of the ms?

I’m a bitzer. 🙂  I do a lot of planning and thinking but I don’t mind letting it rip here and there to see what happens. I write a mini synopsis and blurb fairly early in the process to make sure my story actually works and isn’t just an idea that won’t stay the distance. I usually read over at least the last part of the previous day’s words and then keep writing from there, but I only fix anything super ugly at this stage. After I finish the manuscript I let it sit for a bit then go back and revise, before sending it to my Critique Partners.

Do you use whiteboards, posters, visual aids to help in your creativity?

I am always on the lookout for evocative photos of people and places and I stick any I like around my desk. I sometimes use a mind map/brainstorming technique with coloured pens and flow charts and scribble. I scribble stuff down a lot.

Can you name five objects that are always on or near your work desk while you write?

Laptop, notebook, giraffe, pens, RWA mug

Is your writing space messy, organized or somewhere in between? Are you prepared to show evidence of your claim with a desk photo?

Maggie's DeskThe photo is pretty accurate for when I’m writing. It’s the messy end of the spectrum I guess – when I’m writing I don’t notice much else. (Just quietly, I’m not sure Maggie understands the meaning of messy… Ed.)

What’s the last thing you do before you finish your daily writing session?

Usually I’ll make a short note about what’s next. Then I save and back up. Always.


Maggie Gilbert has won the RWAustralia Single Title Emerald Award in 2009 and  the RWAmerica’s Connecticut Chapter The Write Stuff Contest YA Section 2011

Riding On AirHer latest release is a YA rural horsey romance out now with Escape Publishing called Riding on Air.

Horses, best friends and a gorgeous boy – every 16 year old girl’s dream. But will all Melissa’s dreams come true or is heartbreak on the horizon?

You can find Riding on Air at the Escape website.

You can find Maggie on the web at  www.maggiegilbert.com

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  1. ijustloverunnin

     /  June 7, 2013

    I like how you say you’re a ‘bitzer’…for a long time I thought something was wrong with me because I wasn’t a complete plotter or a pantster…but ‘bitzer’ I am! Hah, I have a label!

  2. Hi Maggie, lovely to learn more about you. Love the new ‘label’ bitzer – 🙂 I’m in awe of anyone who can write in cafes, etc and wish I could do so too. Congratulations on your new release and its such a lovely cover.

  3. Love you book cover, Maggie. Lovely to learn more about your writing process too 🙂

  4. I would have said ‘cramped’, but not messy… then again, the photo doesn’t show the floor 🙂

  5. Yeah I disagree with her definition of ‘messy’ too 🙂

    Cute giraffe!


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