Eyes Front!

Now, like me, you probably spend a lot of time in front of a computer screen (over 4 hours yesterday teaching on Zoom, anyone…?) and it turns out, probably not surprisingly, that this is Not Good For Our Eyes.

Every 20 minutes, we should stare at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

It’s the 20-20-20 rule and it makes sense to me, so I’m going to try to do it! I might set a timer to remind me. (It’s the perfect excuse for staring gormlessly out of the window, right?)

Actually, as it turns out, 20 minutes is the length of time that the brain can concentrate fully on one thing anyway, so it makes sense to have a mini-break after 20 minutes, for the eyes as well as the brain.

Here endeth the lesson. But if you want to know more, here is the article.

Writing Chat

The lovely Marian Keyes, who not only writes great novels but who is also very generous to other writers and would-be writers, has started some FREE on-line writing classes on Instagram (NOOO, I’m not on Insta’, so my heart fell) BUT she’s also putting them on YouTube, so if you want to see the first one (it’s quite chatty, in that Marian Keyes way!), which went out on 11th January (50 minutes long) it’s here.

(And when you watch it, ask yourself, how can this woman be the age she is? She looks about 25! I am in awe).

Publishing Opportunity

And finally, if you’ve written – or think you could write – a psychological thriller, here’s an opportunity from Boldwood Books. Quick, quick – you’ve only got until 7th Feb.

You can be a debut author or an experienced writer and the prize is: a minimum 1 book contract for a full-length psychological thriller (full length is defined as 70,000 words or more) with Boldwood Books Ltd.

Obviously, check out Boldwood Books – and what’s on offer – before you submit, to make sure you’d be happy to be published by them but they look pretty legit’ to me. They publish Della Galton and Jane Lovering (who’s with the same literary agency as me – Kate Nash).
Good luck if you decide to have a go!

Sometimes winning a competition like this is all it takes to launch a writing career! A recent example, is Jane Bettany, who won the HQ and Gransnet Prize for ‘women writers over 40 whose book has a protagonist in the same age group’.

Jane’s novel In Cold Blood (currently only 99p on Kindle and no, I’m not on commission!) features DI Isabel Blood, a detective in her mid-fifties.

Nothing to do with this post but who doesn’t like a bit of cake? Christmas cake made by my lovely step-daughter (now demolished, obvs.)

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8 Responses to Eyes Front!

  1. philippabowe says:

    Thanks for the eye advice Helen, I’ll try it out! And for the Marian Keyes link, that is lovely of her.
    I do have a psychological thriller in the pipeline as it happens, but it’s fourth in line among my big writing projects so it’ll have to be another year… 😉

  2. jbettany2013 says:

    Thanks for mentioning In Cold Blood in your blog, Helen! That’s really kind of you and much appreciated.

    I know what you mean about staring at a screen for too long. I’ll try to follow the advice about the 20 minute rule. I’m also trying to drink more water to keep myself hydrated.

    Best wishes


  3. Eirin Thompson says:

    Thanks for another informative post, Helen. This year, I have been trying to take more ‘movement’ breaks from my desk, and it sounds like ‘eye’ breaks are important, too. I’m also definitely going to look at that Marian Keyes class.

    • Thanks Eirin. Yes, I think you’re supposed to get up and move around aren’t you, instead of just sitting in front of the computer for hours at a time. All these things we have to remember, eh?!

  4. juliathorley says:

    Another consequence is that because I’m wearing my vanity-driven contact lenses less and my Velma-from Scooby-Doo glasses more, I’m starting to get an unattractive mark on the bridge of my nose. As if I didn’t have enough to worry about!

    • Oh that’s a pain, isn’t it?! I’m wondering, you know, whether Marian Keyes had some kind of ‘filter’ on her screen for that YouTube video. You can get them can’t you, even on Zoom, to enhance one’s appearance! (But then, if I did that, when people finally met me in the flesh, they’d get a terrible shock, so perhaps I’ll just stay rough and ready, as I am!)

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