A Few Free 2021 Writing Events

Since we are all stuck at home because of COVID-19, it’s made it easier to attending writing events. Mind you, I miss connecting with people in person, nothing can replace this and I hope COVID-19 is over soon so we can travel.

As a person on a budget I’m always looking for free things. Probably cause I grew up in a frugal household. Anyhow, below are a few free events I’m attending which are virtually held to learn more about the craft of writing. Usually after reading sessions there are Q&As, so you can ask questions to help with your own work.

If I find any more interesting ones, I’ll repost with additional information. Eventbrite also has a lot of free online events as well.


May 1-15, 2021: FOLD (Festival of Literary Diversity)

The festival takes place in Brampton, Ontario, providing an important space for writers to discuss their craft and the challenges involved in creating stories that ask difficult questions, expose hard truths and push literary boundaries.

July 3-4, 2021: SelfPubCon – The Self-Publishing Advice Conference held by the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi)

This online author conference run twice a year in association with the Alliance of Independent Authors and (in normal times) other major global conferences like Digital Book World (US) and the London Book Fair (UK). The event attracts the foremost speakers, sponsors and followers. Competitions and giveaways, as well as interviews, panel sessions, debates, round tables, and live-tweeting all add to the excitement on conference days.

Ongoing Monthly Events

Canadian Authors Association, Toronto Branch – free monthly event series. I am one of the organizers and there are readings, panels and workshops.

The Tartan Turban Secret Readings – free BIPOC reading series held monthly with open mic, all are welcomed.

Canadian Authors Association’s Event Calendar – a list of events put on by branches divided by month, some are open to public, some are not.

San Francisco Writers Conference – monthly online classes, some are free and some are not. They are planning a large conference for 2022.

Writers Union of Canada – there are a few free readings being featured at the moment.

Write-Rice Asian Writers Support Group – monthly support group. I am one of the organizers, we discuss various writing topics. Write-Rice aims to support writers of Asian origin, however, all who celebrate visible diversity are also welcomed.

Brockton Writers Series – a diverse reading series based in Toronto, pay what you can. Site has a blog about writing and publishing.


Numberblocks tags

For any parent with a young child, you may have encountered Numberblocks on Netflix. It’s a British made show which features all the numbers as characters who can merge (add), detach (subtract), multiply and divide. It’s a bit confusing at first because each number has a distinct voice and as they sing and dance, they become different characters (numbers) with different voices. It’s like watching a Broadway musical with people merging to become different people and then detaching again to become themselves. Confused yet?

Numberblocks - The Numbers of Friendship | Learn to Count - YouTube

The episodes are about 5 minutes long and there are five seasons. The stories in each episode are amazingly creative, the numbers are detectives in one, superheroes in another. After watching them, children attached to this show become obsessed with math and demand math quizzes every few minutes from their parents. It’s a wonderful and terrible thing at the same time because while I love the fact that my kid picked up multiplication from the show, my brain has no energy after working and writing (NaNoWriMo) to brainstorm math quizzes for fun at the end of the day.

For those who have the energy to do some celebrating, I’m sharing Numberblocks tags that I made with the Avery 8163 template. You can print it onto Avery stickers or cut them out if you are using regular paper (the guidelines won’t show up). If you have fancier ideas, you can add Christmas/Easter/Valentines clipart too to customize further.

Click link below to download, it has no spam or email signup requests, I am an exhausted parent and I hate that type of nonsense. If you like my books, you will buy them, I am a horrible salesperson anyways…Enjoy these tags and hope you have fun with the little ones during these strange COVID times!


Where to find high quality & free stock art

During school, the best activities were art activities for me as I’m a very visual person.  Like all nerds, I loved school projects and having the excuse to design things.  Fast forward, now I find myself needing stock art to put on the blog or just designing things for fun.  Some of the sites even lets you use the art for commercial use (business cards, book covers, cds, etc) but there are limitations, so read the license carefully if you are heading down that road.

The best sites I’ve found for amazing quality clipart are listed below.  They are sponsored by companies who hope that you will eventually buy some stock art from them and I’ve done that before.  It’s astounding what is available for use, they are truly beautiful graphics which would take me hours to do myself!

How to download & use files:

1) When you click on any site, either use the categories to find what you want or do a search.

2) Usually they want you to open a free account, which is the price of admission.

3) Pick what file format you want (jpeg or eps) and save to your folder on your computer.

4) Open in your graphics program or put into any office software program for use (eg. microsoft office)


 Pixelbay –  high quality photos and stock art


Stock exchange – another site for high quality photos and stock art

free v

Free Vector art and graphics archive – gorgeous vector art for every project possible and divided into categories!  I didn’t realize that you can download pre-made infographics which look really slick.

v open stock

Vector Open Stock – only click in the middle area if you want free vectors.  It gets confusing when top and bottom bars appear and they link to other sites.