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 (www.businessmumsblog.com) 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 (www.accidentalwahm.com), 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: 12 x 12 in 2012, Julie Hedlund, Melissa Khalinsky, Picture Books, Tuesday 12 x 12, Writer, Writing