Today’s Tuesday 12 x 12 in 2012 author, Leighta Bennett, is a lady with my kind of sense of humor. If you want to know what kind that is, take a look at her About Page. A fellow lefty, we also share a love of Johnny Depp (who doesn’t?), and caffeine in the morning chased by wine in the evenings. She’s already written a couple of novels and decided to try her hand at picture books in the 12 x 12 in 2012 challenge. Please welcome Leighta!
Like most writers I think it was always something I loved since being at school but it had always been put in the ‘not a real job – think of something else’ pile. My first ambition was to become an actor but as that was already thrown into said pile, there was no way I had even let the idea of ‘writer’ come up as I was growing up. With my dreams shattered (yes, I’m dramatic) and therefore not having decided on anything else to do, I was enrolled in a business course which in hindsight wasn’t such a bad idea as touchtyping is now one of the handiest skills I’ve learnt.
I’d worked in office admin for years, studied natural therapies and music business management, but it wasn’t until I was pregnant with my second child when I renewed my love for writing after a few false starts. I started my first picture book text and my first novel – I can’t actually remember which came first but that was now over seven years ago and I haven’t looked back. During that time I studied makeup artistry, started a beauty business and considered other courses, but eventually I realised my heart wasn’t heading towards those avenues and I kept going back to the same thing – writing. It was time to take it out of the ‘don’t take it seriously’ pile and just go for it.
Last year I bit the bullet and did my first writing challenge – Nanowrimo – and with it came a whole new outlook. Not only did I complete the challenge but I met a wonderful bunch of writers. I’d previously been a little bit frightened of other writers – feeling like it was an exclusive club where I would not be welcome, but I soon realised that other writers were there to help, not judge as I had feared.
After that I wanted to revisit my picture book writing and expand my knowledge and discovered 12 x 12 in 2012 and found another group of wonderful writers all happy to help and share their skills and experiences, followed by the Chapter Book Challenge. Without the wonderful groups such as 12 x 12, I’m not sure I would have come as far in my writing as I have, nor gained the confidence to develop and take it further.
While I see myself first as an adult novelist, I love being reminded of the childhood stories I loved whilst working on children’s books and sharing some of the world that my own kids are in. My nine year old has even come up with a few picture book ideas himself that he has been doing for school and I think he runs rings around my ideas!
Right now I’m a stay at home mum of three boys and live in Melbourne’s outskirts. My baby starts school next year so I’m looking forward to being able to spend as much time as possible working on my writing without little interruptions every five minutes – Yep, I’ll be living the dream of writing full time. Now to just work on getting paid for it!
Julie, thanks for the opportunity to be part of 12 x 12 in 2012. Looking forward to the next six months!12 x 12 in 2012, Goals, Guest Blogging, Picture Books, Writing · Tags: 12 x 12 in 2012, Goals, Julie Hedlund, Leighta Bennett, Tuesday 12 x 12, Writer, Writing