Guest Blogger, Margie Lawson

By Margie Lawson

A big THANK YOU to Rose McCauley for inviting me to guest blog!

Before we get started, you need to know you may be a WINNER today. If you post a comment, you have a chance to WIN one of my LECTURE PACKETS (a $20 value):

1. Empowering Characters’ Emotions
2. Deep Editing: The EDITS System, Rhetorical Devices, and More
3. Defeat Self-Defeating Behaviors

Each Lecture Packet is power-packed with over 200 pages of lectures. Please visit my web site,, and click on Lecture Packets to read the course descriptions. Thank you.


This is one of those small things writers can do that has a HUGE IMPACT.

Taking several stretch breaks throughout your day is a simple way to keep yourself feeling good. YET – so few people do it.

When asked, most people say they know they’d feel better if they stretched. Then they confess that they rarely stretch. Or – they wait until they hurt, then stretch.

Why don’t they JUST DO IT?

They forget. Or they don’t want to take the time.

Do you STRETCH several times EVERY day?

Do you have stretching exercises that you do each time? Or is it more of a random bend-this-way, bend-that-way, kind of stretch?

Do you spend 3 to 5 minutes during each stretch break? Sometimes longer?

Do you make sure you’re stretching various areas of your body?

If you do ALL of the above, congratulate yourself. You’re smart! You’re stretching your body and your mind.

I bet you could each design at least 15 minutes of stretching to do during breaks. If you need a nudge – here’s a link that shows you how to do NECK, HAND, WRIST, FOREARM, SHOULDER, UPPER BACK AND ARM, and LOWER BACK STRETCHES.


If you need more instruction, you can research the web for free stretch demos (like the link above) or purchase software. You can buy DVD’s, connect with an exercise-buff friend, take an exercise class, or hire a personal trainer.

You can make up your own mini-stretch routine. We’re talking about 3 to 5 minutes of stretching. You have multiple options – and no excuses.

For those who have injuries (i.e., back, neck, shoulder), you can stretch your good parts. Still – no excuses. :-)))

STRETCHING is low-impact. Not intended to do more than give you a gentle stretch. Stretching will increase your circulation, increase your energy, and help reduce the incidence of a repetitive motion injury. Stretching also relieves tension and reduces stress.

Stretching is also a warm-up and cool-down for your exercise session. Create your stretching routine and use it for breaks and before and after you exercise.

If you chose to put more energy into stretching, you could sit on a yoga ball at your computer. You could pop in a DVD and do 5 to 10 minutes of yoga or pilates work during short breaks from writing. You could do Tai Chi or any number of movement-based, stretching, and stress-reducing activities. It’s all good.

Stretching stimulates your body. Stimulates your mind. Stimulates your creativity.

If you want to feel better physically and emotionally – and be more creative – you’ll stretch!

Are you ready to make the commitment? Take stretch breaks every day?

Chime in. Let us all know:

1. What you plan to do
2. How often
3. How you’ll remind yourself . . . use a timer?
4. How you’ll reward yourself when you stick with your plan!

Thank you for dropping by! Again, I appreciate Rose for inviting me to guest blog.

REMEMBER: CONTEST DRAWING will be tonight, 10PM Mountain Time. Post a comment, and you may win one of Margie’s Lecture Packets!
Margie merges her two worlds, psychology and writing, by analyzing writing craft as well as the psyche of the writer. She presents 1) Empowering Characters’ Emotions, 2) Deep Editing: The EDITS System, Rhetorical Devices, and More, and 3) Defeat Self-Defeating Behaviors in one and two day master classes internationally. She also teaches these topics in month-long on-line courses and offers Lecture Packets through PayPal from her web site.

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54 Responses to

  1. Hi Margie,
    Great advice! Thanks for the reminder. I have a Richard Simmons “stretch” tape. The music is relaxing, no speaking (ha! hard to believe it of Richard) and just great stretch moves. I’m going to break it out, but unfortunately I can’t use it at work. I am very lucky in that I work for a very busy president who keeps me in projects, though they don’t take all day and lots of time I have several hours to devote to writing. (shh!) Looking forward to your class in Columbus, Ohio, on January 26!

    Carol Ann Erhardt

  2. :-)Ronie says:

    Cool post, Rose and Margie. Thanks for taking the time to help us help our writing. :-D

    Please enter me in the drawing.

  3. vickyb says:

    I try to do this more or less regularly and know I have to get more adamant about it. I’m especially bad because my hubby is a massage therapist and he’s always on my case about moving and stretching. I set a timer for an hour, then get up and move. Walk a little, stretch a little. I’ve recently purchased several really good DVDs to help with this and have books that show proper techniques and stretches. It is extremely important to do this. (I know – so why don’t I do it more? I will. I promise!) :)

    Vicky B.

  4. This is one of those tips we all KNOW but few fail to implement…and I’m one of them. If a writer only rises from her computer chair (or recliner, as some are “prone” to do) to slug out to the mailbox, that hardly counts as recharging, refilling, and stretching, does it?

  5. kmorphy is having trouble posting so asked me to post this for her:

    Oooh! Good stuff. A timely reminder for me. I’ve already got the RSI (from crocheting of all things, believe it or not), so I’ll definitely vouche for the importance of stretching. My tendonitis makes typing painful, but it’s a situation I could’ve avoided if someone had explained to me about stretching beforehand. Now, I have to stretch my arms frequently throughout the day even when I’m not doing anything. My chiropractor and physical therapist have given me a stretching routine specifically for my arms. First, I sit flat on the floor with my palms down flat and my fingers facing me then lean back to stretch the muscles and tendons on the inside of my lower arm. Keeping my arms straight, I hold that stretch for one minute. Following that, I place the back of my hands flat on the floor with my fingers still facing me, lean back, and hold for one minute. Again, keep elbows locked. After that, I lace my fingers together with my palms out behind my back, straighten my arms, and pull my shoulder blades together. Again, hold for one minute. Next, still sitting on the floor (indian style works great), I place my palms down flat behind me with my fingers pointing towards me and lean forward for one minute. This also stretches the inside of the lower arm. The next stretch is to flip my hands over so that the back of my hands is on the floor, but the fingers are still pointing towards my torso. Lean forward for one minute. My last stretch (for my arms) is to stand in a doorway with my arms bent and propped from the elbow to the hand up the side of the doorframe. Feet should be a should-width apart, and elbows should be in a straight line from shoulders. Lean forward, and hold for one minute. This stretches the muscles across the chest that curl inward when you pull your arms around in front all the time. Because of the damage to my arms, my hands go numb with every stretch, and I have to let the circulation return for a minute or two after each. Gradually, that is supposed to go away. But anyone who is not accustomed to stretching like this can experience that, so don’t let it scare you. You can also do the stretches in short bursts of ten or fifteen seconds until you build up a tolerance for holding them longer. But the longer you hold them at one time, the more efficacious they’ll be. My other little trick is to stand up and sit down several times in a row. It gets the blood flowing again. Don’t flop into the chair when you sit; keep the motion controlled. And don’t do it too quickly, or you’ll pass out. ‘Hope that was helpful to someone. How’s that for a specialized stretching routine, Margie?

  6. Good Morning Carol —

    Richard Simmons stretching and not speaking — good combo!

    Glad you’ll dust Richard off, and maybe treat yourself to a new DVD. :-))

    Yay! I’ll get to meet you in Columbus in January. We’ll stretch our brains and our bodies during that full day workshop!

    See you in January!


  7. Joy says:

    Thanks, Margie, for visiting and for the great advice. A while back, I started belly dancing for fitness. Like so many things, I’ve let it slide, but this was a good reminder to get back on the ‘belly-wagon’.

    I took your Deep Editing class in October and thought it was fabulous – Rose is my editing partner. I’m still trying to assimilate all of the material.

    Thanks for everything,

  8. Ronie —

    Thanks for chiming in! I hope you are motivated to take quick stretch breaks every hour or two. ;-))


  9. Hi, Margie! I so enjoyed your class in October on Deep Editing. I learned so much.
    Thanks for the reminder to stretch. I know I need it.
    Gotta go do some deep editing! Hope I don’t forget to stop and stretch!

  10. Vicky —

    Lucky you — to have a live-in massage therapist!

    Timers are so handy. I have a timer at my desk, in my computer bag, in the car, and with my exercise equipment.

    Timers rule!

    Yay! You’re motivated to make stretch breaks a priority. ;-)))

    Good for you! Enjoy those DVD’s and the benefits of stretching. You’ll feel better — and make your husband happy too.


  11. Hi, Margie
    I know how important stretching is! At my age, if I don’t, I’d be “stove up” as my grandmother always said. Being retired, I don’t sit for long sessions at a time to write. This is a great reminder for all writers. And like you said, we need to “just do it.”

    Martha Rogers

  12. Cynthia —

    You are sooooo right! We all KNOW we should be stretching, but probably don’t think about it until we feel the pain.

    When writers get in the zone, they can sit at their computers for the length of time it takes to fly from NYC to San Francisco. They may take a few bio-breaks and food-breaks, just like airplane passengers. But they may not stretch.

    I recommend timers. Walgreen’s has some for about $4. A cheap treat!

    Thank you for dropping by Rose’s blog. I hope you’re MOTIVATED!


  13. Hello K Morphy — or a name similar to that. ;-)))

    WOW! Thank you for taking the time to describe stretching routines. EXCELLENT!

    I bet some people cut, paste, and print. :-)))

    I like your CONTROLLED stand up/sit down piece too.

    It reminds me of that killer exercise where you stand in front of a closed door, press your back against the door, and slide down as if you’re sitting on an invisible chair. And – ‘sit’ there for 30 to 60 seconds at a time. Work up to repeating 5 to 10times.

    Thanks again for sharing!


  14. One of my fellow crit partners took the EDITS class at the ACFW class and I was very interested in the concept. Sounds great.

    Oh and I love stretching, I do it all day long. Must work, I’m 35 and can still do a back bend and the splits. LOL I just need to figure out how to get these extra pounds off! ;)

  15. Joy —

    Belly dancing! I’m impressed!

    Fun CLICHE TWIST: this was a good reminder to get back on the ‘belly-wagon’.

    Joy — with your permission, I’ll add your cliche twist to my Deep Editing course (and credit you). It makes me laugh!

    E-mail me privately and let me know if I have your permission. Thanks!

    THANKS for letting me know that you enjoyed my DEEP EDITING course. I teach my other editing course on-line in March — EMPOWERING CHARACTERS’ EMOTIONS. And I teach DEEP EDITING on-line again in May.

    I always have such a fun time teaching and presenting. ;-)))

    KUDOS TO YOU AND ROSE — for continuing to work as Editing Partners. Good for you!

    I look forward to seeing you again!


  16. Great advice about the stretching. I love watching my cats go through their routine. Now they know how to stretch! And it looks so graceful and luxurious when they do it.

  17. Ane Mulligan says:

    Crud, Margie, I hate to stretch after I exercise. I keep thinking of all the things I have to do, errands to run before I can get back to my writing. Now you want me to stop writing and stretch?


    Okay, I’ll give it a try. All your other advice has been good.

  18. Michelle, I’m 55 and can still do the splits, too. But just that once. Right before the paramedics show up.

  19. Margie, you’re on the lookout for cliche twists? I teach a workshop at writers’ conferences called “Taming Title Trauma.” One of the key principles I suggest is twisting tired cliches to the writer’s advantage. I have dozens I
    wouldn’t mind sharing for the sake of your students.

  20. Hello Melanie —

    Yay! Another DEEP EDITING grad!

    I bet you’re stretching your brain applying what you learned. :-)))

    Glad you’ll be taking those stretch breaks for your body.

    Hope to see you on-line again!

    OR — maybe I’ll get to meet you in person sometime. In 2008, I’m presenting fifteen (yep, 15) full-day workshops across the US and in Australia and New Zealand.

    I’m in the process of updating my web site. Most of them are posted — but I have added Ohio, Wisconsin, and New Zealand.

    Thanks for chiming in.



  21. Hello Everyone —

    I’ll be tied up with work for most of the rest of the day. I’ll pop back in when I have a break.

    You guys are creative — and fun!

    Thanks for chiming in. Chat later!


  22. It’s me again–this time posting for Jessie Nelson

    You lured me in with the offer of something free! Great blog. My grandma has been doing stretches ever since she was a teenager and she has always looked very fit. She thinks they’re great. While reading the blog I went ahead and stretched my arms and it felt so GOOD! I don’t know why I never do it. Thanks for the tip and I hope you have a great day.

    Jessie Nelson

  23. Camy Tang says:

    GREAT post! Thanks, Margie and Rose! I do try to stretch every day, but your suggestion to use a timer was like a lightbulb moment. Thanks!

  24. Myra Johnson says:

    Hi, Margie & Rose! This is a timely (excuse the pun) reminder! For a long time I kept a timer beside my computer to remind me to get up and stretch every 35-40 minutes. Now the dumb thing keeps time but the alarm quit working!

    Anyway, I need to get back in the habit again, especially after my recent knee surgery. I really feel it when I’ve been sitting too long.

  25. Joy says:

    Hi, Margie,

    Belly dancing is low impact and a lot of fun. In the classes that I’ve taken, the ladies spent as much time laughing as dancing.

    I answered you privately, but I’ll say it here as well, please feel free to use the Cliche Twist – I’d be honoured and thrilled.

    Rose and I have been critique partners for several years, and it’s been a wonderful experience every moment. The deep-editing course helped us to be even better partners, and it gave a common language and points of reference.

    Don’t you have another on-line course coming up in January? Or was that just wishful thinking?

    aka Jessica Joy
    “Fool Me Once”

  26. Margie,

    I learned so much from your Empowering Character Emotions & the Deep Edits. I had no idea I was missing so many tools that would enhance my writing & I know your lectures have helped me to improve greatly. From what I have read about your new course it sounds like one I need to take. Thank you for all your great tips! I will defitely use them!

  27. sealover says:

    Thanks for the great reminder! If anyone needs to remember to stretch, it’s me, with my ongoing back problems. So I added the link to the stretching instructions to my favorites bar right next to my journal, so it’s right there and I won’t miss it!

  28. Martha —

    Hello! Sounds like you’re a big fan of stretching. Excellent!

    Thanks for stopping by. :-))


  29. Michelle

    WOOHOO! You are super flex! Good for you!

    If you’re interested in reading about my two editing courses, course descriptions are on my web site under the Lecture Packets button.

    Keep on stretching!


  30. Robin —

    Cats are amazing when they stretch. Wish we all looked graceful and luxurious when we stretched. :-))

    Thanks for sharing the great image!


  31. Ane —

    You’re so fun!

    YES! Take those quick breaks and STRETCH!

    See me cracking my Margie-whip?

    Glad to know that you exercise regularly. I knew you were smart. :-)))

    Thank you for dropping by.


  32. Cynthia —

    I’m always looking for CLICHE TWISTS. Please send them to me at .

    Thanks! I appreciate you. ;-))


  33. Hello Jessie —

    Thank you for chiming in on the blog. You’ll be added to the drawing. ;-)))

    I hope you develop a stretching routine — and do it!


  34. Camy —

    Great to see you again. :-)))

    Timers are AWESOME!

    I hope you get one soon!


  35. Myra —

    Hey you! Fun to see you!

    Sounds like you’re bouncing back (so to speak) from your knee surgery. I hope you’re driving again — so you can go buy a timer. :-))


  36. JOY ASKED:
    Don’t you have another on-line course coming up in January? Or was that just wishful thinking?

    In 2008 — I teach on-line courses in January, March, and May.

    January: Defeat Self-Defeating Behaviors

    March: Empowering Characters’ Emotions

    May: Deep Editing: The EDITS System, Rhetorical Devices, and More

    THANKS FOR ASKING! More details are on my web site. :-)))


  37. Sarah —

    Thank you for the KUDOS regarding my ECE and Deep Editing courses. See me smiling? ;-)))

    Maybe I’ll see you on-line in January!


    I learned so much from your Empowering Character Emotions & the Deep Edits. I had no idea I was missing so many tools that would enhance my writing & I know your lectures have helped me to improve greatly. From what I have read about your new course it sounds like one I need to take. Thank you for all your great tips! I will defitely use them!

  38. Linda Bell says:

    I did the stretches as I read the site. What a fantastic difference!

    Thanks for improving my health as well as my writing. [Grin]

  39. Jenny says:

    Thanks for the reminder! I have my students stretch often and make sure they are crossing their median to help build up those synapses linking the two lobes of their brains. But remembering to do it for myself? Ha, that’s another story.
    Also, wanted to say thank you–I so appreciated your class at ACFW. One look at my first chapter and I saw instantly one of my weaknesses in writing. Color-coding is wonderful!
    Wishing you all the best!
    Abundant blessings,
    Jennifer Lynn Cary

  40. It’s me again, posting for Ruth Dell who can’t get blogger to accept her password:

    Rose, thank you so much for an interesting blog.

    Margie, I enjoyed your mini lesson. I’m going to try and incorporate stretch breaks into my work from now on. My role model will be my 7 month old granddaughter. She loves stretching! She stretches with her whole being from the bottom of her tiny toes to the tips of her little fingers stretched as high as they’ll go above her head!

    Please enter me in the drawing for a work packet. Thank you

    With best wishes

    Ruth Dell

  41. Mary Jarvis says:

    I stretch in the morning when I’m taking a shower – the hot water really helps loosen me up. I’ll have to start doing it more frequently during the day – good advice!
    Mary Jarvis

  42. Sharon Lavy says:

    Hi Margie,
    Nice to “see” you again. Stretching hmmm. Ok I’ll try.

  43. Hello Sealover —

    Great idea to juxtapose your favorite links. :-))

    Happy stretching!


  44. Linda —

    You’re so smart to DO the stretches as you read about them. :-)))

    Keep doing them!

    Great to see you again. Hope your writing is going amazingly well.


  45. Jenny —

    Excellent advice. Thanks for sharing.

    Thanks for letting me know that my EDITS System pointed out some NEEDY areas in your writing. :-))

    Maybe I’ll get to see you again in Minneaplois!


  46. Hello Ruth!

    If you set a timer — you’ll be 100% successful in adding stretch breaks to your day.

    Ah — I can see a 7 month old stretching and wiggling toes and fingers. :-)))

    Everyone who posted is entered in the drawing. Thanks for chiming in!


  47. Mary —

    Great plan to stretch some in the shower — then stretch MORE after your shower. You’ll still be warmed up 15 minutes later.

    PLUS — More stretches off and on all day — could keep you feeling fabulous and super limber!

    Thanks for sharing. :-))


  48. Sharon —

    It’s nice to SEE you again too. Love your smile in your photo!

    If you haven’t been stretching — start small. You can do some stretches standing, others sitting. Keep doing a little more each week. I bet you’ll feel better!

    Thanks for dropping by Rose’s blog!


  49. Georgiana says:

    It’s so hard to take time to stretch–I’m way too impatient. Great idea, and I think I’ll have to use the timer. Of course, belly dancing also sounds like a good idea, behind closed doors, of course =)

    Loved Empowering Character Emotions at the conference! And I’ve gotten a lot out of the Deep Editing too, although I think I have a bad case of New Toy Syndrome.

  50. Evelyn Ray says:

    Awww, looks like I’m too late. I used to stretch, but haven’t been lately. Thanks for the reminder to get back into it. I am going to check out your website too…your classes sound like they would be very helpful.

  51. It’s almost midnight here which means it is almost 10 PM Mountain time. I just wanted to thank everyone for stopping by and leaving these comments today, and I hope you will stop by again. I do a drawing for a free book the first of each month, so you all are eligible to win a Christmas book on Dec. 1st as long as I have an email addy to contact you for your mailing info.

    A special thanks to Margie for taking the time out of her busy schedule to share this great advice with us. I’m already signed up for her class in January and would encourage the rest of you to check her site out for more info.

    Y’all come back, ya hear? Rose

  52. Hello!

    It’s just past 10PM Mountain Time . . .



    Cynthia — Please e-mail me privately,, and let me know which Lecture Packet you would like.

    Rose — Thank you again for inviting me to be your guest today. I enjoyed my day. AND — I hope that we are all motivated to use our timers and keep stretch breaks going strong every day. We’ll be stronger too. :-)))

    If anyone has any questions for me about my on-line courses or Lecture Packets, please e-mail me privately.

    Thank you again!


  53. Georgiana —

    You were included in the drawing – but you weren’t the lucky winner.

    Hey — You can keep thinking about your plot, character’s, scenes, WHILE you stretch. :-)))

    Glad you’re aware you may fall into the New Toy trap. Watch out!

    I hope to see you in Minneapolis in September!

    Thanks for dropping by.


  54. Evelyn —

    You were also included in the drawing . . . Sorry you didn’t win.

    I hope you get back into the stretch routine.

    Let me know if you have any questions about my courses. :-)))

    Thanks for chiming in!


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