Tuesday 24 March 2020

#WEPwinner #guestpost - #Anstice Brown - Wellbeing for Writers During Challenging Times

Hello there! 

How are you doing in times of Coronavirus? Hope you're all safe and well and protecting yourself by social distancing. Thankfully, online pursuits can go ahead. 

We're running late this month. But we have a treat for you today as this month's winner of Cafe Terrace, Anstice Brown, has prepared a wonderful guest post, reaching out to writers at this challenging time. 

Thank you Anstice!

Wellbeing for Writers During Challenging Times

With all the fear and uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, I wanted to contribute something positive for my fellow writers, so here are my tips for staying creative in these difficult times.

Start Small
With everything that’s going on, you could forgive your muse for forgetting to turn up to duty. Your strict writing schedule may need to be abandoned in favour of a more flexible approach. Try setting a timer for short intervals and writing without allowing yourself to edit. Online writing sprints can help with motivation, as can having a writing buddy to cheer you on and hold you accountable.

Make Contingency Plans
Planning can make you feel more in control of your situation. It’s not helpful to dwell on worst-case scenarios, but if you have looming deadlines, you should discuss your options with your editor or publisher. It might be possible to extend deadlines or postpone things in the event of illness or ongoing social distancing. Planning for it now will reduce your anxiety about what might go wrong in the future.

Improvise. Adapt. Overcome
If your day job is currently suspended, you are probably juggling working-from-home, housework and home-schooling your kids. You might need to think outside the box when it comes to finding the time to write. Meetings with your writing crew will have to be via video call from now on (Microsoft Teams is a brilliant tool for this).

However, this unique situation does offer some interesting opportunities for book marketing as the majority of people will be at home and needing entertainment. Here are some ideas:

      Run an offer or giveaway for your books.
      Hold an online launch party or author event. You could invent your own hashtag for the occasion, make custom graphics, run giveaways and fan art competitions and post fun excerpts on your blog.
      Video yourself reading from your book or host a writing webinar and share across social media to generate a buzz.
      Put together a free pack of bookish resources for school students.
      Look into writing for Chatables (https://www.chatables.com/), Amazon Alexa’s new conversational storytelling feature. 

Be Kind to Yourself
Writers are often self-critical but it’s now more important than ever to prioritise our mental and physical wellbeing. Writing should be a welcome escape, so if it’s adding to your stress, I’d suggest you take a break. Soak up some sunshine in your garden, stretch your body, get creative with your kids or lose yourself in a good book. 

Reach Out
Now is the perfect time to connect with an online writing group like the WEP, IWSG (https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/)  or the #WritingCommunity on Twitter. Join in with online events such as Camp NanoWrimo (https://campnanowrimo.org/) in April/July or The Blogging from A-Z Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/) in April to give you a boost of motivation.

We all have to stick together through these challenging times. If you feel yourself struggling, please reach out to someone for support. Stay safe and write on everyone.

Author Bio

Anstice Brown has a BA in Literature and Philosophy and adores her role as a Literacy Learning Assistant. She lives in England with her wonderful husband, daughter and their mischievous cat, Magical Mr. Mistoffelees. Her short story “Sea of Sorrows” appears in the IWSG anthology Masquerade: Oddly Suited (https://books2read.com/masqueradeoddlysuited).

 Thanks Anstice!

  • Please everyone, feel free to share how you're feeling. It is a trying time! WEP is a safe place. We welcome your input! Do you have any well-being hints?

See you all at our next challenge - April - Antique Vase. Eyes out for the April 1 post which will explain all, and feature two more writers who've been with WEP for 10 years!

Please tweet!

@AnsticeBrown #Covid-19 #WellbeingforWriters #WEPwinner #guestpost https://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com/2020/03/hello-there-how-are-you-doing-in-times.html @DeniseCCovey, @YolandaRenee, #@LGKeltner, @OlgaGodim #amwriting #writingchallenge

Monday 9 March 2020


Hello all, Denise here!

February 2020 has been a personal favorite challenge for me. It had it all - a van Gogh (yes, the 'v' is lower case) work of art, a rich history behind the art, and a plethora of talented writers to bring CAFE TERRACE to life.  Thank you everyone! I'm especially touched by those who were new to van Gogh and took the time to research before putting pen to paper. That is extra special and we're humbled.

A warm welcome to new members, Carole Stolz (friend of Pat Garcia) and Donna Hanton. I hope you enjoyed the experience and will join us again!  


Thanks Nila for writing up the blurbs for every entry.

Roland Yeomans – Flash fiction. Samuel Clemens and Oscar Wilde meet up at Cairo’s Shepheard’s Hotel to ponder the treasures of Tutankhamun and what money can or can’t buy.

Damyanti Biswas – Flash fiction. An artist channels Van Gogh a little too accurately as a lover tries to save her from herself.

Beth Camp – Poetry. Free verse persona poem written in tribute to Van Gogh, an interesting take on the POV.

Sally – Flash fiction/Poetry. A charming Valentine flash contrasting the chronology of young and mature love, incorporating poetry for greater effect.

Kalpana Misra – Flash fiction.  A sharp thumbnail of contemporary work culture showing how naivete and honesty are rewarded in a corporate work ethic controlled by social media and sycophancy.

Donna Hanton – Flash fiction. Lisa meets her ex by chance when she stops for a cocktail at the famous café in Arles. Will her love be rekindled?

Carrie Ann Golden – Poetry. Galena’s café, destroyed by war, ravaged by disease, lies abandoned but not forever. From darkness to light,  from the ashes to hope.

Susan Rouchard – Flash fiction. A Sorbonne academic slips too deep into his own research and ends up eavesdropping unwittingly on some strange, bygone conversations.

Dolorah – Flash fiction.  A woman looks a ring of woven twigs on her gnarled finger and relives her youth and a lost love.

Team Netherworld – Flash fiction. A mature man reminisces about his brother on a long ago Valentine’s Day and how an illness can be worse than death itself.

Elephant’s Child – Poetry.  A hard hitting poem addressing artists, art, the impact and meanings of appreciation and success.

Ronald Clarke – Flash fiction. Sparkle and Kama ponder over the case of a burgled Van Gogh copy and the line between that and forgery.

Carole Stolz – Poetry. A well crafted and bittersweet tribute to the creator of the original Café Terrace.

C. Lee McKenzie – Flash fiction. A women steps into a…café and finds an old flame and a new definition of love.

Toi Thomas – Flash fiction. A trio of American black women think through the pros and cons of setting up a new café in an out of the way French town.

Jemi Fraser – Flash fiction. An alien being comes to a withered Earth, bleached of all colours and discovers the vibrant planet as it must have been in a painting.

Pat Garcia – Flash fiction.  An unusual Valentine tale of a great but unconventional, all-accepting, remotely conducted love.

Bernadette Braganza – Flash fiction. A modern day café owner tells a customer the story of its origins.

Anstice Brown – Flash fiction. An innovative flash where the work of two artists from two separate genres and periods combines to produce a haunting portrait.

Sonia Dogra – Flash fiction.  A unique POV where a setting turns into a character and tells rather a dark tale of love.

Hilary Melton-Butcher – Flash fiction. A widow processes her grief through a visit to one of the spaces she and her beloved husband shared.

L.G. Keltner – Flash fiction. A woman dresses up and meets a man for a somewhat unconventional date that ends rather unhappily for one of them.

Jemima Pett – Flash fiction. Arlene goes on a dream trip following Van Gogh’s painting and discovers a fresh, intriguing perspective on love.

Nilanjana Bose – Essay. A ramble through the history of cafés and terraces and myriad other things.

Olga Godim – Flash fiction. Monette uses her grimoire to humorous effect and straightens out an ex or two.

Yolanda Renee – Flash fiction. A couple hold on to each other and their memories in the stark, cruel reality of old age destitution.

Denise Covey – Essay. A tribute to Van Gogh and how his life and works continue to inspire journeys short and long.


We had an especially difficult time coming up with a shortlist. How could we not with the high quality entries? We finally came up with one we could all agree on. If you don't see your name on this last, it probably was at some stage. Competition was especially fierce which explains how long it took to find the top three. You just keep on improving!

And now, the official shortlist which was sent to Nick!

Thank you everyone! Congratulations on a job well done! It was also heartening to see so many people commented far and wide. Please keep it up, because in order to make the final shortlist, you must be commenting!


Nick commented: "This was tough, with everything being high quality."

So, here we go:



Congratulations, Anstice! 

Nick said: 

Striking and unique, I really like the idea behind this. It turns a prompt into multiple prompts and makes a great story out of it."

Anstice, please link the badge to your story and post it on your blog!

In addition to a critique of your first three chapters, or 10,000 words, afrom Lynda Dietz , you've also won a guest post here at WEP. Details will be emailed to you shortly. I'm afraid the time is short!


Congratulations, Damyanti!

Nick said:

"Bittersweet and poignant, and I also like the spare writing style, letting the reader draw their own conclusions for the most part."

Thank you for participating in WEP with your wonderful entry! Please link the badge to your story and post it on your blog!


Congratulations, Lee!

Nick said:

"Another intriguing idea, with a good tale woven in too."

Lee, please link the badge to your story and post it on your blog!


Thank you for showing respect and encouragement to all the enthusiastic writers who penned a post for the February challenge! 

There was the usual Word Press/Blogger incompatibility, but less than usual. Personally, WP made me log in every time I wanted to comment which was painful. Always watch the C-Box and the website comment thread to catch up on any commenting problems and fixes. Thanks to those who commented on the site when you couldn't comment on a post.

Those who read 22 and over, (allowing some leeway for the difficult commenting situation), by the cutoff date of Friday 28th February -- wow, just look at this list!!

Pat Garcia,
Jemi Fraser,
C Lee McKenzie,
Sonia Dogra,
Elephants Child
Sally Stackhouse,
the WEP team

The Random selector chose C Lee McKenzie for winner. Congratulations, Lee! Please display the badge on your blog with a link to the WEP website. Whoa! Two badges this month!

Here's our April prompt which will be hosted by Yolanda Renee. Very exciting, both the prompt and having Yolanda back on board. The thinking-caps post will be posted April 1.

Thank you so much for an amazing February challenge!  Check out the CHALLENGES PAGE and plan for the rest of the year.  

And SPAM alert! MailChimp sends emails with links into your SPAM folder. Please go to your SPAM folder and tick 'Not Spam.' I'm afraid there's nothing I can do about it atm. I'd really appreciate your dropping a comment to tell me if you received my WEP email. (I send out 4 per month. A shame if no one gets them, LOL!)

Denise for...

We'd love for you to tweet this post or share to Facebook or your favorite social media site. Plenty of choices.

#WEPFF CAFÉ TERRACE winners announced. @DeniseCCovey @yolandarenee  @LGKeltner @OlgaGodim https://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com/2020/02/winners-post-february-challenge-cafe.html #amwriting #flashfiction #wepwinners 

10 years of writing excellence WEP February winners @DeniseCCovey @yolandarenee @LGKeltner @OlgaGodim https://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com/2020/02/winners-post-february-challenge-cafe.html #amwriting #flashfiction #wepwinners

Come congratulate our February winners. #WEPFF CAFÉ TERRACE Challenge @DeniseCCovey  @yolandarenee @OlgaGodim @LGKeltner 

The #WEPFF writers had some fantastic entries! WEP winners announced! @DeniseCCovey  @yolandarenee @OlgaGodim @LGKeltner 

#WEPFF CAFÉ TERRACE winners all. https://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com/2020/02/winners-post-february-challenge-cafe.html @DeniseCCovey  @yolandarenee @OlgaGodim @LGKeltner #amwriting #flashfiction #wepwinners

10 years of writing excellence WEP Winners! @LGKeltner  @DeniseCCovey  @yolandarenee @OlgaGodim https://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com/2020/02/winners-post-february-challenge-cafe.html #amwriting #flashfiction #wepwinners

Come congratulate our February winners. #WEPFF CAFÉ TERRACE Challenge @DeniseCCovey  @yolandarenee @OlgaGodim @LGKeltner 

The #WEPFF writers had some fantastic entries! @DeniseCCovey  @yolandarenee @OlgaGodim

Give the #WEPFF challenge a try in April and let your imagination fly! #AntiqueVase a@DeniseCCovey  @yolandarenee @LGKeltner @OlgaGodim https://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com/2020/02/winners-post-february-challenge-cafe.html #amwriting #flashfiction #wepwinners