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.Β  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!

You can follow Leighta’s journey on her blogΒ andΒ Twitter.

Categories: 12 x 12 in 2012, Goals, Guest Blogging, Picture Books, Writing · Tags: , , , , , ,

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28 Comments

  1. Yay, for living the dream! If you are supposed to “write what you know,” it sounds like you can cover quite a lot of ground. Here’s a plot: a business woman is blackmailed by her makeup artist, only to be saved by a natural therapist. Okay, I’ll leave the adult novels to you. Thanks for the excellent post, Leighta.

  2. Love it Hannah, lol. Might put that away in the ideas file.

    Thanks for the awesome introduction Julie.

    xx

  3. Staying home and writing – not a problem. It’s the “getting paid for it” that’s the challenge…..

  4. Nice to meet you, formally, Leighta. You certainly have a wide background for great book ideas! How neat this fall you can have the writer’s dream!

  5. Lovely post, Leighta. It sounds as though you have quite a lot of fodder for your picture book stories. Me too. Seven kids. So let us shake hands, hug tight and write our hearts out! Nice to meet ya! *waves peace sign*

  6. I zipped over to your blog to find “Broom With a View.” Hahahaha! I LOVE that name! Good luck (though I suspect your creativity will take you a long way!).

    • Thank you Cathy. I wish I could take credit for the name of my blog but my husband was the one who came up with it. He’s very handy for ideas. Thankfully he leaves the writing to me πŸ™‚

  7. I just started writing full-time from home. You are going to love it! I think it’s great that you are trying your hand at different writing (you never what you are going to fall in love with until you try).

  8. Howdy, Leighta! Thanks to Julie (and others like her who spotlight writers, illustrators, editors, etc…ok…yes…I know…there is no one just like you, Julie :)…we are getting to know our fellow creative soulmates. πŸ™‚
    I love your story, Leighta, because it highlights a couple of really important points…pursue what interests you, connect with others who share your passions and never give up the dreams!
    Thank you so much for sharing…I’ll be hopping over to your blog…LOVE the name!

    • Thank you Vivian. And yes, big thanks to Julie as I’m loving reading about all the 12x12in2012 prepublished creatives. I’m glad you enjoyed my post because I had no idea what I was going to talk about until I sat down and began writing it. πŸ™‚
      Hope you enjoy my blog (I badly need to update – whoops).

  9. Leighta~It’s wonderful that you are pursuing your writing dream. You said a lot that rings true with me, too….especially the part about connecting with other writers and gaining confidence to develop my writing. The connections made have been invaluable. Thank you for sharing with us and best of luck!

  10. Hi Leighta, this is a lovely post and enjoyed getting to know you. I am with you on the feeling as though joining writing groups were an exclusive club, understand how nerve-racking it feels. Love your humour as I visited your blog. I am envious of stay at home writers.. *sigh*…. one day!

    • Thank you. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who felt nervous about meeting other writers. And thank you for enjoying my humour. I actually didn’t think I was funny lol. πŸ™‚ Oh, and you can’t be envious of me. Just because I’m home doesn’t mean I get any writing done! πŸ™‚

  11. So nice to meet you Leigh, and glad you are following your heart again!

  12. Interesting About Me Page… I liked the story between the writer and the book(s)!

  13. Nice to meet you, Leighta. Interesting to read about your initial fears about writers– a lot of us feel that way about the imaginary ‘exclusive club’– must be those left over middle school emotions peeking out!

  14. Nice to hear your story, Leighta! I too finally pulled writing out of the ‘not realistic’ pile, and I’ve loved the adventure. Maybe many of us put writing in the ‘dream’ pile because it’s driven so much by dreams and imagination. I’m loving finding out how real it feels.
    Good luck! – Damon Dean

  15. Leighta, you said something that I suspect was so engrained in my thinking that it could be a big reason writing has not taken full priority in my life. (Well, that and the fact that now I am a full-time part-time caregiver. Life keeps changing though, so who knows … ) When you said β€˜not a real job – think of something else’ — gasp! I always believed that one had to write very important big books to make real money from writing. What I want to write would not likely ever be that .. so writing itself, not even writing for pay, took a backseat to everything. But, nothing else has ever been as interesting to me in a creative way .. even though other artistic things have pulled me aside for a time. I don’t write as freely as I want to, it takes time away from ‘important things’. I don’t write consistently to find out what or how I CAN write, it takes time away from ‘more valued’ ways to use my time.
    Oh dear! Breaking out of that at this time in my life is not easy, but I am trying.
    Thanks for sharing, Leighta.

  16. So, you are both lefties, eh?
    Leighta, thanks for sharing your journey with us. We each take a different path, but arrive in the same place when God says the time is right. I agree, the writer’s groups are a real boost to our career. I’m definitely thankful for my 12×12 comrades! Wow. Hours of free writing time. I’m jealous! My time will come…in two years.

  17. Wonderful to get to know you, Leighta! I, too, write in several genres, and I figure, the more the better — there are so many ideas and worlds to explore!

  18. Thank you for all your lovely comments. Sorry I couldn’t reply to everyone individually – seems I can only do a certain amount. It’s been so nice to meet you all and I look forward to learning more about you and other 12×12 participants. Julie, thanks again for this wonderful opportunity. πŸ™‚

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