Guest Post: Author Ann Wertz Garvin’s Writing Space

Ann Wertz Garvin, author of On Maggie’s Watch, recently agreed to share her writing space with my readers.  But before we get to her guest post, you should check out the synopsis of her book (courtesy of Penguin):

Having survived the wrenching loss of their first baby, Maggie Finley and her husband have moved back to her small hometown in an effort to assuage their grief and start again. Now, pregnant with their second child, Maggie worries about everything around her. She decides to resurrect the town’s long-defunct Neighborhood Watch as a way to control her anxieties. While the Watch members are busy worrying about litterbugs, graffiti and neighbors not picking up after their dogs, Maggie discovers a more serious threat lurking behind the gingham curtains of a home nearby. Determined to take matters into her own hands, Maggie decides she will do whatever it takes to expel the offender from their leafy neighborhood.

Without further ado, here’s Ann with her writing space:

Writing is Messy

Writing spaces. I picture my favorite authors writing in sleek loft spaces in New York City or overlooking the ocean from a dove colored shingled cottage. Big dreamy sigh. Such is the glamorous life of an author. In the largest arrogant leap known to man I decided I could write a novel. What was I thinking? I had no loft space, no beach house, no chalet or cottage, hell no skills to speak of. I love that my writing space reflects that.

Your browser may not support display of this image.My daughters were five and seven when I started the novel in 2006. Life is/was busy; my job, family, everyone’s overwhelming needs. They take a lot of maintenance those children. Apparently you have to feed them on a regular schedule or the court gets involved (*kidding). When my office got over run I wrote on my bed, at coffee shops, airports, and in my dining room which is much tidier but can’t be shut behind a door. I do live in a 100 year old Victorian which may or may not be haunted. If it is haunted it is a very respectful ghost who sometimes tosses things off shelves. On second thought, that may be just gravity but I like to think it’s my ghost tenant who is whispering ideas into my brain and when I’m not listening helps the natural laws along and flings things to the floor.

Another place I write and please don’t tell anyone at my University. I write in committee meetings. I have a legal pad and have already carried the plot line in my head for a few days so, long hand, I write. I look terribly diligent, in my meetings. Of course, I am insubordinate –but in a nice way.

I write whenever and where ever I can. Here’s what I’ve learned. You don’t need a loft space or a fancy, organized, tidy space. You can write amidst the clutter of life. In fact, if you wait for the clutter of life to de-clutter you will never write.

Thanks, Ann, for sharing your writing space with us.  Check out a couple videos for On Maggie’s Watch.

About the Author:

Ann Wertz Garvin has a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a doctorate from University of Wisconsin-Madison in Exercise Psychology. She is a professor at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater where she teaches courses on nutrition, stress management and other health topics. On Maggie’s Watch is her first novel. Ann has lived all over the country but currently resides in a small town in Wisconsin that provided the inspiration for this novel.


  1. How very true – if you wait for the clutter of life to de-clutter you will never write. 🙂 But a nice, quiet loft sure would be nice sometimes!

  2. Ann Wertz Garvin says

    I love being asked about writing space and other quirky writing questions. It actually helps me look at my process myself–evaluate what works and what doesn’t. I’m new to this kind of writing and am a little amazed myself when I come up with something funny or interesting. Often I think a ghost is whispering in my ear…because I don’t know myself where it all comes from.
    Thanks for reading and posting.

  3. I love the idea of getting ideas from ghostly tenants. 🙂

  4. I’m amazed at the way authors are able to write just about anywhere! I guess if there’s a story in you wanting to get out, it’s going to do it!

    • I really love highlighting the variety of writing spaces that authors have. It’s fun to see how many different places can be inspirational.

  5. Thanks for the interview as well as the post re the book. I will like to read this as the story interests me.