Keeping Perky!

Hello, I’m back and since I last posted (on 4th March) everything’s gone a bit weird, hasn’t it?

Anyway, let’s not dwell on that now but remain bright and breezy and PERKY!

Here are some distractions and nice things that you might like to read or do:

1. Free Novel-Writing Course

Amanda Reynolds, who writes psychological thrillers and is always very generous with her time and support for other writers, is offering a free novel writing course via her blog, to include practical exercises, tips and advice. The first part is on there now.

And so is the second. Here.

2. Evesham Festival of Words competition

Like many festivals, Evesham has already cancelled and postponed some events and will no doubt have to cancel many more BUT the short story competition is unaffected. Hurrah! And there are just 2 days to get your entry in. Closing date is Friday 20th March (at midnight GMT). The adult category costs £5 to enter but it’s free for children. All the details are here.

3. Get Thee to a Gallery!

If, like many of us, you’re stuck at home, you can go on a virtual tour of some lovely museums and galleries without leaving your armchair, by clicking on here.

4. Writing In Isolation

Writing magazine has an interesting post about how to survive writing in isolation:

5. Future Learn Courses

I’ve never tried them myself but lots of people swear by the FREE courses available on ‘Future Learn’ – have a look here and report back if you try one, won’t you?

6. Morgen Bailey

I was recently lucky enough to win a critique from Morgen Bailey in a Twitter competition and she’s given me some fabulous feedback on a story that has never quite managed to make the grade (despite my sending it to lots of competitions and thinking it’s not a bad story!).

Have a look at her website and see all the wonderful things she does and she has a free monthly newsletter, which you might like to sign up for.

7. The Spectator magazine runs a writing competiton on a weekly (I think) basis. Often, anyway. You can usually find them on the Spectator website. The latest one – which is free to enter – is as follows:

No. 3142: with added spice
You are invited to submit a review from Tripadvisor spiced up by a number of misprints. Please email entries of up to 150 words to lucy@spectator.co.uk by midday on 25 March.

8. The National Trust

And if you want to get out of the house (while practising ‘social distancing’, of course), the National Trust put a nice little message on their Twitter feed yesterday: “We are aiming to open many of our gardens and parks for free during this difficult time, so the nation can use open spaces to relax and refresh, while following the government’s social distancing guidance.”

So keep an eye on the NT website for more information on that. (But note that houses, cafes and shops will all be shut).

That’s all for now, folks. But I will be back soon with a new random word competition!

Have an emergency G&T on me!


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18 Responses to Keeping Perky!

  1. shirley elizabeth muir says:

    oh Helen, this is JUST what I need, thank you! I’m quite excited by your list of goodies to try. (And I had a success in one of The Spectator’s weekly competitions so I urge others to have a go. They are very quirky.) My monthly trips to Edinburgh galleries for an ekphrastic writing group have of course now been cancelled but your suggestion to visit galleries online is just what my creaking brain needs. Discovering unusual and amazing works of art by writing about them is so worthwhile and triggers new ideas.Thanks a million.

    • Thank you Shirley. Your enthusiastic comment was most welcome. I’d love to know more about your ekphrastic writing group! (it’s something I do occasionally with my classes but we don’t venture to an art gallery, we just look at pictures of paintings but, who knows, when all this is over and we can all get OUT again, I might suggest a trip out to everyone!)

  2. jbettany2013 says:

    Thanks for keeping it perky! Positive messages like these are exactly what is needed right now. You’ve certainly given me plenty to think about and lots of ideas to explore. I love the virtual gallery idea. It’s the safest way to travel at the moment! Thanks so much, Helen.

  3. juliathorley says:

    I’ve done quite a few Future Learn courses and they’re pretty good. I know now how to identify a person from his/her skeleton, for instance. Also, I know Morgen in real life and she’s a very knowledgeable writer and editor. Let’s keep up our collective chins!

    • Agreed, Julia! My pilates classes have been cancelled, which is such a shame but understandable. Hopefully I’m going to be able to still do some by following the teacher’s videos. Exercise is important too isn’t it for our mental well-being.

  4. Alyson Faye says:

    Thank you Helen, great blog post, timely and useful and I’d just spotted the info on Nat Trust gardens when you posted it too. I have shared the article on writing in isolation with one of my online writing groups -well they are all online now! thank you again Aly

  5. I’m finding it very hard to keep perky with the world as we know it disintegrating around me. Thanks for reminding me that I should be writing! Hopefully, escaping into another world will take my mind off things!

  6. Linda Casper says:

    Useful tips to help keep us going. I shall definitely try a few of these to boost motivation. Thank you.

  7. Sharon boothroyd says:

    I think The National Trust shut their open spaces and gardens, which is a pity. Could I recommend a new FB group please? It’s publishing heartwarming tales to cheer us up .https://www.facebook.com/groups/1294776920910798/

    • Helen Yendall says:

      Thanks, Sharon. Yes, sadly I think the NT have had to shelve their idea for opening up all their gardens, as we’ve all now got to STAY IN! (quite right too). But one day…! Thanks for the link to the Facebook group.

  8. philippabowe says:

    Well done for the perkiness Helen! So many good ideas there. And it’s good to remember that, as writers, we’re lucky to have an infinite source of interest and occupation, confinement or no confinement! xxx

    • Helen Yendall says:

      This is very true, Philippa. I’ve seen lots of writers say on social media, that we’re all pretty used to ‘self isolating’ anyway, aren’t we? (obviously without all the horrible-ness though). How are things in your part of the world? Hope you’re keeping well.

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