Please welcome this week’s Tuesday 12 x 12 author Melissa Khalinsky, who hails from waaaaaay across the pond in Australia.  She is here today to tell us a bit about her writing journey.  You can read more on her blog Melissa Writes.  Welcome Melissa!  

When I was in high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up. My younger sister had her life mapped out by the time she was 15 but I still had absolutely no idea. In year 10, I had to choose my subjects for the VCE (Victorian Certificate of Education, years 11 & 12) and chose subjects to keep my options open.

The one subject I always loved was English, especially when we were doing creative writing. I wrote prolifically, having the unenviable task of narrowing down my pieces for my Writing Folio task, rather than madly writing new pieces to make up the required number of pieces for the task. I even won a couple of awards – one for a short story and one for a play. A children’s picture book that was part of my Year 12 writing folio was submitted, and rejected, by publishers (but that’s the subject for another blog post).

Then, life got in the way. I went to uni, got married at 20, went to full-time work, had my first child at 24, second child at 26, started a business, was divorced by 30 and life went on. The usual story. All the while, I was blogging ( and writing for business, but my first love, writing fiction, fell by the wayside.

Bring on 2011. I had to go back to work, and my business had fallen off the rails. My fingers still itched to write and fiction started swirling in my mind. The first idea was Accidental WAHM (, a series of fictional short stories to do with work at home Mums, which is turning in to a series of novels. Then along came Jimmy James, a young boy with some magical socks.

The ideas started to flow, short stories, novels in progress, and I dusted off the picture book I wrote in high school. With the benefit of 15 years, I could see many reasons why it was rejected by publishers.

I started sharing my journey on my blog and through Facebook, and I discovered a world outside small business and the pages I liked on Facebook changed from business to writers pages. I also started a hunt for writers groups to develop my writing.

Then a friend told me about the 12×12 in 12 challenge. Most of my writing in 2011 had been either short stories and novels for adults, or chapter books for kids, so picture books was a challenge, my skills here were incredibly rusty. But the challenge looked like fun, so I signed up.

It has been amazing so far. The ideas are flowing. My two gorgeous boys have been helping, and are excited by the challenge. I have already completed 2 manuscript drafts and things are looking good for a few more. The first one, I am now polishing.

The 12×12 in 12 group has been what I’ve been searching for. I have met some wonderful writers and have found some people to critique my work. It’s been exciting following everyone’s progress and part of me wonders who will be the first of us to get our picture books in print (I hope the group stays open after the end of the challenge so we can keep up to date).

This is my journey so far. I’m looking forward to the day when I can quit my job and be a full-time published author and Mum to my two boys, aged 8 and 10. for now, I’m enjoying the journey and getting all the stories and characters out of my head!

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



  1. It’s great getting to know you, Melissa! Thanks for sharing your life story in 1 short blog post! I wish you the best in getting published. It’s neat your boys are into this challenge, helping you along.

  2. Loved reading your story, Melissa. Wow, sounds like you did a lot of writing in 2011! Glad your boys are totally involved in the journey too. I bet they are some great inspiration! Good luck with all these new picture book ideas!

  3. Thanks for sharing your story, Melissa. I am excited for you just reading this. Best of luck with your new found love, Picture Books 🙂

  4. Thankyou Melissa for sharing your journey with us, so glad to hear your boys are with you in this. Sounds like it was meant to be, writing has certainly been a big part of your life. good luck with your picture book ideas.

  5. I enjoyed reading about how you got into writing, Melissa. I’m glad to hear you found a great writing group! Good luck with your writing.

  6. Thanks for sharing your journey thus far with us, Melissa! I hope 12X12 will help you get those characters out and those stories polished so you can live your dream of published author who doesn’t have to have another job 🙂 How nice that your boys are enthusiastic partners 🙂

  7. Fab post, Melissa! Congratulations on returning to your true love of writing fiction. My journey’s been much the same as yours, and I’m also excited about the 12X12 challenge! Best of luck on those manuscripts, but doing what you love is the first step to truly living.


  8. We’ve had similar journeys, Melissa, following the road here and there until finally coming back to where it all began (and also ended for a while). Glad you found your path again – and that we’re all here to share it with you. Well done!

  9. Thank you for sharing with us, Melissa. Your boys are precious. What fun to have their help and perspective. I’m so glad you found 12 X 12 because it gives us such excitement and inspiration in to do our best work in such a competitive market.

  10. Oh…and, Julie…thanks for doing these Tuesday posts. Very interesting and encouraging to all of us out there who are hoping for our dream of getting published. The community you have created is unbelievable. UNBELIEVABLE! I have warm fuzzies when I think about the connections 12 x 12 has made possible. What an awesome follow up to Tara’s PiBoIdMo!

  11. What a beautiful story! I find it interesting how many authors find their passion for writing later in life. It must be all those rich life experiences we have to draw upon once we’ve become parents, business owners, and so on. It was wonderful to learn more about you, Melissa! Best of luck on your journey.

  12. Good luck with your writing journey, Melissa. Following your heart is never a bad thing (just painful sometimes)! JW is the Australian market as bad as the US picture book market right now?

  13. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Your story is full of hope and courage. Wishing all your writing dreams to come true.

  14. Thanks for sharing your writer’s journey with us…you’ve come full circle! Looking forward to meeting you along the path during 12×12…

  15. Thanks for sharing your story. It inspires me to keep on doing what I love.

  16. Hi Melissa! We got your back, girl.

  17. Interesting, isn’t it, how once the writing bug gets under one’s skin it never seems to leave. It may burrow deep in wait, hidden, but the itch to write stays.
    Now, that sounds a bit creepy, but … isn’t it true? 🙂
    Thanks for sharing, Melissa.

  18. I wish you the best! Thanks for sharing your story!

  19. Melissa, thank you for sharing your journey with us. It’s nice you found your passion early in life. Having children around you will provide you with many wonderful ideas. So nice to meet you. I wish you the best!

  20. Melissa, loved reading about your journey. I have a feeling things are going to become good for you because you showed talent so early. I’m wishing good things for you! Judy

  21. Melissa — I totally agree that this 12 x 12 challenge has been a blessing and I too look forward to following your progress all year. Good luck!

  22. Thanks for sharing with us Melissa. That’s wonderful you wrote a picture book at the young age of 12. Wishing you the best of luck with your journey to publication.

  23. Melissa, what a great post, straight from the heart! It has been great to have met you too! Best of luck with all your work, what an inspiration you are to your two boys! <3

  24. Thanks for sharing your story, Melissa! I feel the same way about the 12 x 12 in 2012 group and I am so glad to have the chance to get to know you!

  25. Great post, Melissa! Thanks for sharing your journey!

  26. Thanks for sharing your story, Melissa! What a wonderful addition to the 12 X 12 community you are!

  27. Melissa, what a wonderful post, an awesome filled journey, we all are on. Thank you so much for sharing a piece of your path. I am looking forward to getting to know you on 12×12. Your boys are so precious. The smiles say it all! 🙂

  28. Thanks so much, Julie, for enabling us to get to know Melissa. 🙂

    Hi Melissa,
    It was wonderful hearing about your journey in life and in writing…I also put aside picture books many years ago…and again, due in large part to Julie’s 12 x 12, I am dusting them off and writing anew!
    So lovely to connect with you…it’s great that you have the help of your sons. 🙂

  29. lovely blog!!! good luck with it. And i am so proud to see so many aussies in the 12×12!!! Keep up the great work x x x

  30. I love your story. Find time to write everyday, even just a little. You will probably find that the more stories that you get out of your head, the more that will be there.

  31. The picture of you and your boys is precious! I also feel grateful that I get to meet fabulous people like you through 12×12.

  32. Thanks Melissa for sharing…yes, I’m finding (so much later in life, too) that it is a wonderful relief to let those characters out of my head, finally, and see them come alive on paper (or screen). I know you probably feel also like you’ve been holding your breath for years….and now you can exhale.

  33. Great job, Melissa!!! You’re doing such fantastic things!!!

  34. Thank you for sharing your story, Melissa! What a beautiful example you’re setting for your boys by following your passion and I love that they’re so excited for you.

  35. Great post Ms. Hedlund! I enjoyed reading about Ms. Khalinsky! 🙂 It’s neat to read how authors became authors!

  36. Thanks for letting us get to know you better. Good luck with the 12X12!

  37. Thanks for sharing your journey. I can’t wait to hear more about Jimmy James and those magical socks. (I read this several days ago, but Valentine’s Day events got me way behind.)

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