Friday 4 September 2015

Fun, Fresh, Feisty and Fierce! An Immersion with Margie Lawson Explained ... by Andrea Grigg

Margie ready to go!

I’d heard a lot of very good things about psychotherapist and editor, Margie Lawson. And after talking to friends who had signed up for an immersion being held in Melbourne, straight after the Romance Writers of Australia conference which I was already attending, I signed up too.

Best move ever!

Margie is a warm, funny, energetic, and inspiring lady. For five days, seven of us hunkered down with her in the home of our host, the lovely Dorothy Adamek. We arrived at 8:30 in the morning and didn’t leave most nights until 9:30 pm.

Sound intense? Well yes, it was, (hence our group name, 'Fun, Fresh, Feisty and Fierce!')  but there was endless encouragement, lots of laughter, constant ‘aha!’ moments, and an abundance of gourmet food (thank you Dotti!).

Each morning, Margie presented her fabulous, so this-is-what-my-writing’s-been-missing techniques and gave us exercises to work on. She also spent time with us one-on-one, going     over our manuscripts. What an invaluable daily half hour that was!

Elaine still working hard ...

 Four of us already knew each other, but it took no time at all for us to bond with the other two immersioners. Improving our writing was our goal and boy, were we given the Bunning’s Warehouse of tools to do it!

I love studying writing craft. I’m always keen to know how to improve my style, strengthen my structure and learn new strategies. I received all that and more from Margie. 

Here’s a quote from Catherine Hudson on the subject:  
'Many writing craft books tell you the dos and don'ts, a whole list of rules that in the end, make you feel confined, shut in.... and frankly, suffocated. Margie Lawson's lecture packets and her immersion have set my creativity free! She gives tools to make your writing fresh, fun, and marketable. Margie is a powerhouse of writing knowledge, creative energy and editing humour. I've never laughed so much as someone carved up my work to turn it into a thing of beauty. Love it! I plan to attend more of her courses soon.'

Was the immersion tiring? Exhausting? Overwhelming? Yes, but oh-so-worth-it. Here’s what Cassandra Shaw and Elaine Fraser had to say:

Cassandra: 'You’ll be excited. You’ll be exhausted. You’ll be near tears. You’ll be wondering why you did this. When it’s over, Margie will leave you inspired, driven, and confident you now have the tools to craft a novel beyond your biggest NYT dreams.' 

Elaine: 'On Monday, I was full of enthusiasm. On Tuesday, I was ready to quit. On Friday, I had the tools I needed to triumph.'

And this from Iola Goulton
'Dotti raved about her first Margie Lawson. And her second. After a week with Margie, I can see why. I now understand and can apply a huge range of power writing techniques and understand the effects of Velcro hands, thumbies, and choosing the right cookies. If you want to know what any of that means, you’ll have to ask me in person at the Christian Writers Conference in October … or attend a Margie Lawson immersion yourself. I guarantee Margie will show you how to be a better writer (or editor!).'

So, what preparation was involved?

Each of us brought five chapters of a manuscript to work on. We also purchased three specific ‘packets’, a group of printed out online lectures, (Deep Editing, Rhetorical Devices and More; Empowering Characters’ Emotions; Writing Body Language and Dialogue Cues like a Psychologist) and applied them to our chapters before the immersion. The packets are only $22 USD and FULL of amazing examples from ‘Margie-grads’, many of whom have gone on to write NYT best-sellers! I’ll be purchasing more of the packets in the very near future.

Will I sign up for another immersion?

You bet! But if Margie doesn’t make it back Down Under, (the immersions are held mostly in the U.S.) I will access more of the lecture packets or sign up for an online course.

I hope I’ve managed to whet your appetite concerning all things Margie Lawson. Check out her website and see which part appeals.  And if you ever get an opportunity to attend an immersion, go for it! You'll be so thankful you did.

Out to dinner on our last night. From L-R: Cassandra, Andrea, Catherine, Dotti, Iola, Lauren, Margie, Elaine


  1. Thanks Andrea for sharing your experience last week. Fabulous the week was great on many fronts. May all of you experience a step-change in your writing.

    1. Thanks for that, Ian. I think we all feel we've gone up at least five steps as a result of the immersion, lol. Can't recommend it highly enough :)

  2. WOW!!!! First. That's a great pic of you all...and still smiling after that week's work. Brain work can be exhausting. What a great recommendation, Andrea.

    1. Hi Rita - we had a lot to smile about despite the exhaustion! Thanks for stopping by :)

  3. Next year I'm in if she comes back.

  4. Sounds like a great time. Would have loved to be there to enjoy a 'visceral response' with all of you. I bought Margie's 'Empowering Character's Emotions' packet after hearing Cat talk about it. My head was spinning after just a couple of modules. So packed with helpful info. I intend to buy the other packets. Well worth the money.

    1. We had LOTS of visceral responses Nola, most of them humour hits - you would've loved them! The packets are indeed well worth the money.

  5. Hi Andrea, Thanks for sharing your Margie Immersion with us :) It's on my wish list!

    1. May your wish come true! Most fascinating thing to do with writing I've ever participated in.

  6. I know Christians should not be envious. Can I be forgiven this time? What would I have given to be taught so much and enjoyed this kind of fellowship and input into my writing efforts many, many years ago! How wonderful to share such a great time together.


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