9 episodes

Ali Millar and Penny Wincer are not too busy to write. Except of course, sometimes they’re too busy to write as much as they would like. Join Ali and Penny as they navigate the world of writing, publishing and creativity whilst juggling the demands of motherhood, caring and other paid work, without losing themselves in the process. They’ll be discussing the challenges that often get in the way of sitting down to write, interviewing fellow authors and discussing their latest reads. They'll also be spurring each other on and reminding each other that they are not too busy to write.

Ali Millar is the author of The Last Days (Ebury, 2022), a mother of 4, chair of many literary events and a Scot, newly relocated to London. She is currently working on a TV treatment, her next non-fiction proposal, and the last edits of The Last Days, which is out early 2022.

Penny Wincer is the author of Tender: The Imperfect Art of Caring (Hodder, June 2020), is a single parent to two kids, one of whom is disabled, occasional journalist, professional photographer and an Australian and long-term resident of London. She’s currently writing a proposal for book number 2 and working on her first novel.

Not Too Busy To Writ‪e‬ Penny Wincer

    • Books
    • 5.0 • 19 Ratings

Ali Millar and Penny Wincer are not too busy to write. Except of course, sometimes they’re too busy to write as much as they would like. Join Ali and Penny as they navigate the world of writing, publishing and creativity whilst juggling the demands of motherhood, caring and other paid work, without losing themselves in the process. They’ll be discussing the challenges that often get in the way of sitting down to write, interviewing fellow authors and discussing their latest reads. They'll also be spurring each other on and reminding each other that they are not too busy to write.

Ali Millar is the author of The Last Days (Ebury, 2022), a mother of 4, chair of many literary events and a Scot, newly relocated to London. She is currently working on a TV treatment, her next non-fiction proposal, and the last edits of The Last Days, which is out early 2022.

Penny Wincer is the author of Tender: The Imperfect Art of Caring (Hodder, June 2020), is a single parent to two kids, one of whom is disabled, occasional journalist, professional photographer and an Australian and long-term resident of London. She’s currently writing a proposal for book number 2 and working on her first novel.

    Episode 8 - Writing in short bursts

    Episode 8 - Writing in short bursts

    When life is busy, we don't always get the long stretches of time we would ideally like to have to write. So how do you train yourself to write in tiny spaces of time?
    Ali and Penny discuss the techniques they have used over the past few years when time is short. From keeping up the frequency so your mind is never far from the project, to using mini rituals and music to short cut your way to writing mode, this is an episode which questions our default excuse to avoid writing because we only have tiny pockets available to us.
    Links mentioned
    https://www.janetmurray.co.uk/build-your-audience-programme/ (Janet Murray Membership) (virtual co-working)
    https://londonwriterssalon.com/#writershour (London Writers Salon) (writers hour)
    Books
    Medical Muses: Hysteria in 19th century Paris by Asti Hustvedt
    https://uk.bookshop.org/books/holy-anorexia/9780226042053 (Holy Anorexia by Rudolf M Bell)
    https://uk.bookshop.org/a/6990/9781529035438 (Summerwater by Sarah Moss)
    You can find all of our book recommendations at
    https://uk.bookshop.org/lists/not-too-busy-to-write-recommends (Not Too Busy To Write - Bookshop.org )

    • 40 min
    Episode 7 - Conversation with Grief

    Episode 7 - Conversation with Grief

    In Episode 7 Penny is absent due to self-isolation, so Ali takes the helm. She introduces their slightly ambitious plan to read the Women's Prize longlist before the announcement of a winner in July.
    Ali talks to Tetyana Denford about the first in her new trilogy of books, Conversation with Grief. Conversation with Grief was born after the death of Tetyana's grandmother, when Tetyana was forced to sit with her grief in the vacuum of a pandemic. They talk about how grief changes shape, how it constantly surprises us and how sometimes, the only thing we can do is invite it in. They also talk about how motherhood is a form of grief and how the opposite of grief is love.
    All of Tetyana's books are self published. In the second half of the episode she shares insights into the process, and talks about the challenges and rewards of wearing so many hats simultaneously. She also talks about how self publishing isn't a less than option, but one that requires just as much work and dedication as a more traditional publishing route.


    Conversation with Grief is available to https://www.amazon.co.uk/conversation-grief-Tetyana-Denford-ebook/dp/B08Z4CY48P/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1andkeywords=tetyana+denfordandqid=1617126780andsr=8-2 (preorder).
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Motherland-heartbreaking-story-motherhood-during/dp/B085RNLLV2/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1andkeywords=tetyana+denfordandqid=1617127783andsr=8-1 (Motherland by Tetyana Denford)
    Tetyana's youtube series is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCHHLEIwSoQ (here).


    Books mentioned in the episode are:
    https://uk.bookshop.org/books/no-one-is-talking-about-this-longlisted-for-the-women-s-prize-2021/9781526629760?aid=6990 (Patricia Lockwood: No One is Talking About This)
    https://www.waterstones.com/book/untamed/glennon-doyle/9781785043352 (Glennon Doyle: Untamed)
    https://uk.bookshop.org/books/ghost-wall-a-novel-9781783784462/9781783784462?aid=6990 (Sarah Moss: Ghost Wall)
    https://uk.bookshop.org/books/a-little-life/9781529061246?aid=6990 (A Little Life: Hanya Yanagihara. )


    All Books mentioned on the podcast are now all in one spot on our very own Bookshop.org list
    https://uk.bookshop.org/lists/not-too-busy-to-write-recommends (https://uk.bookshop.org/lists/not-too-busy-to-write-recommends)

    • 58 min
    Episode 6- Getting Started!

    Episode 6- Getting Started!

    The blank page can be terrifying, paralysing even. How do you overcome the fear of starting something new?
    In Episode 6 Ali and Penny - both at the start of new projects - talk about the different tools they use to make a strong start on something new. They examine artistic considerations as well as more practical techniques including: goal setting, spreadsheets, progress checkers, and the all important writing community.


    They also talk about ways of reframing the idea of 'dreams'. Is it a dream to write a book, or an ambition?


    Links mentioned
    https://www.pacemaker.press/home (Pacemaker - online wordcount app)
    https://www.instagram.com/p/CIlBSF1lCa7/ (Clare Seal's (My Frugal Year) progress grid)
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Story-Genius-Lisa-Cron/dp/1607748894/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1andkeywords=story+geniusandqid=1616496686andsr=8-1 (Story Genius - Lisa Cron)
    https://www.waterstones.com/book/heavy-light/horatio-clare/9781784743529 (Heavy Light - Horatio Clare)
    https://www.waterstones.com/book/mrs-death-misses-death/salena-godden/9781838854935 (Mrs Death Misses Death - Salena Godden)
    https://www.womensprizeforfiction.co.uk/features/features/news/revealing-the-2021-longlist (Women's Prize for fiction 2021 long list)

    • 55 min
    Episode 5 - Perfectionism

    Episode 5 - Perfectionism

    How does perfectionism hold our writing back?
    From not sharing our work, to not getting started at all, Ali and Penny dig into how to manage our perfectionism as writers. Asking can perfectionism ever be a positive thing for our work? We look at avoiding comparison, when to ignore your inner critic (and when to listen) and allowing yourself to be vulnerable.
    Books mentioned:
    https://www.waterstones.com/book/white-feminism/koa-beck/9781398501966 (White Feminism - Koa Beck)
    https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-see-through-house/shelley-klein/9781784743109 (The See-Through House - Shelley Klein)
    https://www.waterstones.com/book/a-slice-of-the-moon/sandi-toksvig/9780552566599 (A Slice of the Moon - Sandi Toksvig)
    https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-end-of-the-sky/sandi-toksvig/9780552566605 (The End of the Sky - Sandi Toksvig)

    • 51 min
    Episode 4 - Feeding our Creativity

    Episode 4 - Feeding our Creativity

    Aside from sitting down to actually write, where else do we get our creative energy and ideas from?
    From solo afternoon trips to the cinema, visits to modern art installations and long drives alone, this episode is all about how we feed our creativity, spark new ideas and solve creative problems. Becoming aware of how we feed our creativity is one thing - but how do we then protect that creative time? Penny and Ali talk about how they prioritise those activities by treating it as part of the process and why they think we should all take it seriously.
    Links mentioned in the show
    https://www.5x15.com/ (5x15 spoken word events)
    https://www.hayfestival.com/p-1408-hay-player-annual-subscription.aspx#:~:text=Hay%20Player%20contains%20thousands%20of%20audio%20and%20film,access%20to%20culture%2C%20ideas%2C%20literature%20and%20the%20arts. (Hay Festival Player)
    https://www.arvon.org/ (Arvon at Home)
    https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/look-and-listen/player?type=andyear=andquery= (Edinburgh Book Festival )
    https://mrbsemporium.com/gifts/reading-subscriptions/ (Mr B's Emporium Book Subscription)
    https://www.galleybeggar.co.uk/subscribe (Galley Beggar's Press subscription)
    https://www.waterstones.com/book/girl-a/abigail-dean/9780008389055 (Girl A - Abigail Dean)
    https://www.waterstones.com/book/pew/catherine-lacey/9781783785179 (Pew - Catherine Lacey)
    https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-silence/don-delillo/9781529057096 (The Silence - Don Delillo)
    https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-divers-game/jesse-ball/9781783785872 (The Divers' Game - Jesse Ball)

    • 53 min
    Episode 3 - Motherhood, Grief and New Starts

    Episode 3 - Motherhood, Grief and New Starts

    This week Ali and Penny are joined by debut author, Ilona Bannister, whose novel, When I Ran Away, is released in the UK on 4th March by Two Roads books and on 30th March in the US with Doubleday Books.
    When I Ran Away is a startling novel, funny and hard hitting, it tells the story of GiGi, an American mother of two living in London who just can't manage to do it all.
    In this fascinating and wide reaching episode, Ilona talks about how, after having children, she felt it was hugely important to write honestly about the effects of motherhood, trauma and grief, and in doing so breaking the narrative that we can have it all.
    Ilona tells Ali and Penny about her journey to publishing, how she set her own deadlines, treated the novel writing process like work before it was paid work, as well as what steps she took to maximise her changes of success.
    Books discussed
    https://www.waterstones.com/book/when-i-ran-away/ilona-bannister/9781529352658 (When I Ran Away - Ilona Bannister)
    https://www.waterstones.com/book/mrs-death-misses-death/salena-godden/9781838854935 (Wow, No Thank You - Samantha Irby)
    https://www.waterstones.com/book/mrs-death-misses-death/salena-godden/9781838854935 (Mrs Death Misses Death - Salena Godden)
    https://www.waterstones.com/book/luster/raven-leilani/2928377049881 (Luster - Raven Leilani)
    https://www.waterstones.com/book/h-a-ppy/nicola-barker/9781785151149 (H(A)PPY - Nicola Barker)
    https://www.waterstones.com/book/insatiable/daisy-buchanan/9780751580174 (Insatiable - Daisy Buchannon)
    You can find Ilona Bannister on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/ilona.bannister/ (@ilona.bannister)
    You can find Ali Millar of instagram https://www.instagram.com/ali_millar_writes/ (@ali_millar_writes)
    And Penny Wincer on instagram https://www.instagram.com/pennywincer/ (@pennywincer)

    • 1 hr

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
19 Ratings

19 Ratings

LucyBeckley ,

Truly wonderful

Full of insight, wisdom and humour. This is a truly wonderful, uplifting and inspiring podcast for anyone wishing to write. No matter what stage you are in your writing journey, it’s jam packed with useful advice and is truly joyful to listen to. Ali and Penny fill each episode with inspiration, knowledge and such honest accounts of what it is to write when you are spinning many different plates. I highly recommend it!

Modern Miss Mason ,

Brilliantly honest!

As a newbie to the publishing world (signed in December) and in the midst of writing during the UK lock-down, I’ve found these conversations so relatable. Thank you for carving the time out to share your stories and insights. Bravo ladies!

all ears ali ,

Not Too Busy To Write

Getting straight to the nitty-gritty of how to focus our creative energies within normal daily life. Totally talking my language.

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