Mrs. Gibbs

Writer’s Tips: Margaret Gibbs on Writing


Do you like writing?

Yes! writing lists, letters, blog posts, scribbling notes. I enjoy writing down my thoughts and ideas when travelling. I like writing poems and stories, messages and cards. I like to write to keep me happy and other people happy. I have a personal blog that I write fortnightly – it keeps me thinking about life.


Where do you write?

I write out in the garden, on my sofa, at school, on holidays. I write on the computer and in notebooks almost anywhere.


What do you like writing about?

I like writing about real life, everyday situations, for example the boy up the road riding his bike or the neighbour’s children playing in the street. On holidays I like writing about people I’ve met and places I’ve seen – the architecture, shop windows, fashions and sunsets. The picture book text constantly challenges me with the right word, character and emotional heart string. I like writing poetry that is inspired by nature, school and family life. In my blog, romancingwithgrandma there are posts about grand children, travelling, special celebrations, inspirational and friendships.


What is your current writing project?

My blog which I write fortnightly about anything that challenges, delights and compels me to explore about relationships.


What type of poetry do you write?

Free verse mostly. I enjoy the random, unexpected interplay of words, pictures and mood. I have written haiku, limericks, children’s poetry (The Art Room published in the NSW School Magazine) and personal poetry ( Shadows in my Heart and The Hope Tree published with Arrow.) More than a Conquerer was a poem written after a friend’s son battled with drugs. Sandy Bottoms, a humorous poem was staged at a local primary school with year 4. I have been working and redrafting a collection of poems called Mop Up inspired by the Brisbane 1974 Floods. I write poems that develop after talking with teenagers, hence the website with a poetry club for teenagers. These poems reflect their interests such as tennis, dancing and hose riding.


Where do you get your ideas?

Sometimes it’s as simple as watching an ant travel across the sand or a scrub turkey making a mess in the garden. I find ideas in shopping centres, at the beach or driving my car. Ideas surprise me like birthday presents – some are fun, others not so exciting.  Ideas come to me in almost any situation.


What do you learn from other writers?

To keep on going. Write for yourself – to satisfy, enjoy and share with others. I have learnt to expand a simple idea into a bigger possibility. I have learnt to collect pictures to help me with a story. I have learnt to think about the conflict of the story and the emotional impact a good story will have on the reader. I have learnt to have conversations out aloud with my characters so that I can understand them more. “Show not tell”. And to see myself as an apprentice learning along the way. With other writers there’s new ways of expressing things, word choices and voice.


Do you have any hints for beginner writers?

Keep a good Thesaurus and rhyming dictionary. See the fresh possibilities of a plain idea by transforming it into an extraordinary idea. Write because you want to write, even if it’s hard. Treat yourself to music or a lovely window view. Write something special for a friend’s birthday or a eulogy. Plan a poem for a grand child.
Visit a like minded writing friend who will read and edit your work. Play and dabble with words. Congratulate yourself!

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