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Welcome to PenPals Writing

We are Jennie and Hannah – two writers who met on a Curtis Brown Creative writing course, became friends and supported each other through the ups and downs of our first drafts, querying, securing agents (and the Coronavirus pandemic).

Writing can be a very lonely pursuit. It can also be daunting, stressful, and emotional (query rejections/ghosting anyone?). We found that our friendship has made it less so and we wanted to offer the hand of friendship more widely; sharing our experiences, what we’ve learned, hearing about what others have learned and extending that support to a wider community.

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About us

Hannah

Hi, I’m Hannah and I’m a writer.

It’s a simple sentence but it’s taken me a long time to feel comfortable writing that down. You see, I felt like my ambitions to be a writer were embarrassing, something to be ashamed of, that people would just think I was another person with a pipe dream who thought they had something interesting to say.

I realised of course, that it was my own self-doubt talking so then in my bios I started to say I was an ‘aspiring writer’ but that in itself was a contradiction. It was whilst on a walk with an incredibly supportive and sage friend that she said something to me that changed the way I thought about my identity entirely, ‘Han’ she said, ‘Do you write?’ I shiftily looked at the floor, replied with a grunted yes. ‘Well then you are a writer.’ It was true- most things she says are true. I thought that being a writer meant being published, as if that in anyway meant that I was more of a writer than someone who spent most of her weekends strapped to her desk enjoying the process of putting things down on a page.

I am a writer, I love writing, my Desert Island Discs luxury item is a pen with unlimited ink and a notepad with infinite pages for God’s sake!

I also think that this change in mindset helped me realise that if I wasn’t going to take what I wanted to do seriously then nobody was going to either. Since I have unashamedly told people that I have written a book, they have then asked what’s next, talked to me about their own ambitions, asked to read it, pushed me to find an agent, sent me bottles of champagne and gorgeous cards when I was signed to an actual real-life literary agency. 

I have never been prouder to introduce myself as Hannah Luckett, the Writer.

Jennie

If you’d asked me as a child what I was going to be I would have proudly told you ‘An author or an actress’ but life, in the form of practical and financial considerations got in the way, and I swallowed those lofty ambitions and channelled my energy into the corporate world.

If I had been writing this introduction only eighteen months ago I would have said that I was a business woman. The HR Director for a FTSE100 in fact. I would have talked about my twenty-five year career and experience, and you would have been really clear how much of my identity was defined by my job title and the work I did. But eighteen months ago I gave it up.  Following a redundancy I decided to do the course in ‘The Artists Way’ by Julia Cameron, and found myself writing my first novel.

While I had forgotten my childhood ambitions, they hadn’t forgotten me. So now, I am a writer (it may be too late to break into acting now, but who knows!).