Today’s Tuesday 12 x 12 author is The Lady in Red – hair that is! Both a poet and a children’s book author, Rena Traxel hosted the wild and wonderful A-Z poetry challenge this past April in honor of Poetry Month. She is the only person I know whose bio is written as a poem. I, for one, am glad she didn’t become a lawyer and joined 12 x 12 instead. Please welcome fireball Rena Traxel

During my third year of university I took a children’s literature course on a whim. I had a choice between writing a research paper or creating a fairy tale. I chose to create a fairy tale. I fell in love with writing again. Before I knew it I had notebooks full of ideas, stories, and poems just as I had done when I was kid. But somewhere along the way I convinced myself that writing was stupid and that a career in law was much more practical.

But being practical was never my strong suit. So I left the sociology program and transferred into a professional writing program. My only regret not coming to that decision before writing the LSAT. Lol.
The professional writing program was pretty awesome. I learned a lot. But school, and work and life left little time for creative writing. I found myself becoming increasingly annoyed. I was annoyed that I didn’t have to time to write. I was annoyed that I didn’t have anyone to turn to to ask all my burning kidlit questions. I promised myself in the new year (2012) that if I really wanted to turn this crazy dream of being a children’s author into a reality that I needed to start treating writing as a job. I needed to reach out and find a community.  Then I came across the 12 x 12 challenge while surfing the net and immediately signed up.  My career took a turn for the better although I didn’t know it at the time.
These past nine-and-half months have been wonderful. The monthly goal of producing a pb draft has kept me on track, forcing me to schedule writing time. I have nine picture book drafts, some of which I’ve been busy revising. I was inspired to start a month long poetry challenge.  I have had access to numerous resources posted by fellow 12 x 12ers such as the Operation Awesome Agent Pitch, in which an agent discovered my pitch (I’m still waiting to hear back). I met my wonderful critique group.  I learned about PiBoldMo and the Picture Book Academy both of which I’ll be taking part in in November.
The best part is feeling connected to a group of writers willing to help in any way they can. In turn I get to celebrate each time a 12x12er gets published, finds an agent, wins a contest, goes on their first author visit. I know one day that’s going to be me.  It won’t be this year, but as I go into 2013 I will have a portfolio full of material, a wonderful critique group, a well of knowledge and a community here to help.
I’m finally a writer. Telling people I write for children is a much better conversation starter than quoting the most recent crime statistic.
Beware of the fiery haired writer that calls herself Rena J. Traxel. She spends her days brewing up a batch of fantastical stories. She also blogs about writing, shares poems, and downloadable activities @
Categories: 12 x 12 in 2012, Authors, Goals, Guest Blogging, Picture Books, Works in Progress, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , ,



  1. I agree that writing is much more interesting that being a lawyer! Glad you made that decision. Best wishes on finding homes for all your stories!

  2. It better to go to work in your pajamas than to have to get dressed up in a suit. Writer? Lawyer? No contest!!

  3. I think Genevieve about summed it up! 🙂 Glad you found 12×12 and we found you. Good luck with all your writing projects!

  4. Cool! I like that you don’t have to quote crime things anymore! 😉 I think you’ll like PiBoIdMo this November! 🙂

  5. You made quite a switch, Rena, but of course, it was the wiser choice! So glad you are part of our 12×12 group. I’m looking forward to gleaning much from your journey.

  6. I am so happy you chose writing over being a lawyer, and so thankful to know you as a fellow writer. 🙂

  7. Really glad you found writing instead of that boring lawyerly stuff! Nice to know you too. Lots of luck with EVERYTHING you write. Yay 12 x 12! And PiBoIdMo too. 🙂

  8. I am SO grateful that you discovered 12×12 so fortuitously, and so glad we’ve become friends. I look forward to following your writerly journey. You definitely made the right/write decision!

  9. Congrats on getting your ms request by an agent! You are on your way and I can’t wait to hear about all your future sucess Rena. Keep up the great work girlie 🙂

  10. Yeah Rena! So glad you are following your passions and that I get to benefit in reading some of those stories!

  11. I am so glad we have had the chance to get to know you and your work through 12×12, Rena! Am very excited for you in this agent process and keeping my fingers crossed!

  12. Wow, we are so lucky your creative genius was not wasted on the law! What would have become of Sleeping Beauty????

  13. A lawyer?? REALLT?? Ha! I’m so glad you made the best decision ever… Happy to have you, happy to know you, and extatic to call you my friend. 🙂

  14. Well, the jury is in-
    And I say, “You win!”

    And we win, too, Rena, by having you as a part of the 12 x 12 group. You have been a huge inspiration for me with your presence and,of course, with your A to Z Poetry Challenge!

  15. Thanks everyone. I tried to respond personally to everyone but it seems my comments keep getting disappearing. Thanks again! I feel all warm and happy inside.

  16. Very glad you were surfing. Good luck for the remainder of 2012 and for 2013.

  17. So glad you decided to get into children’s writing and stumbled across 12 x 12, it’s been a pleasure getting to know you this year. 🙂

  18. Hi Rena…it was so much fun finding out more about you…12×12 has opened doors of opportunity for so many of us…a big thank you to Julie!!!! Doing what you love is bliss…maybe that’s why so many of us who are pursuing the writing dream are smiling. 🙂

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