My dream to be a published author developed at nine years old when I devoured one Babysitter’s Club book after another. I wanted to create my own characters and stories and let them live dramatic lives underneath beautiful book covers. Now in my early 30s, I’m still aspiring to that “published” part – in the sense of having a book out there – but I’ve been writing and getting bylines in different ways.
I started my career in journalism as a reporter for my Illinois hometown newspaper, then continued to write for magazines as I moved around the country. While I loved interviewing people, I knew I’d rather focus my writing energy on my own stories. I took executive assistant jobs for a while that allowed me the brain space to write personal essays and short stories, some of which have found homes in literary magazines. After a while I missed using creativity in my day job, so I took on jobs such as content marketer, editor, and now social media manager.
Writing and blogging have always been a thread in my career as well as what I pursue outside of work. I’ve started a number of blogs over the years, focusing on topics like waiting tables near Disney World, long-distance running, gluten-free baking, and natural health. Creating blogs has been a fun way of making my own little digital magazine, a place where I get to be in control of what gets published, and a strategy for ongoing writing practice. I love learning the technical ins and outs of making a website. If I’m being honest, the type-A personality in me nerds out over creating a content calendar. What fun!
In 2021, I took on my most creative role yet: mother. More specifically: 24/7 mom with a full-time job and full-time hobby and less than part-time sleep.
While navigating this new way of life, I’ve loved finding books, blogs and publications that feature real talk about the motherhood experience. I’ve found a mama community through writing and reading. I’m still pretty new to this parenting thing, and It. Feels. Hard! The published works Literary Mama have shown me women I can relate to – moms whose babies don’t sleep, who aren’t having a beautiful breastfeeding experience, who feel like they don’t have a clue. This is why I’m excited to be part of the Literary Mama team and connect with even more mamas who turn to writing – whether as an outlet, as therapy, as documentation or as a way to process and make sense of it all.
I’m excited to contribute to this community that has been so helpful to me. Literary Mama is a reminder to me that motherhood is a club. We’re here to help each other, save our mama friends from drowning and lift each other up.
Michelle Chalkey writes from Phoenix, Arizona, where she lives with her husband and two-year-old son. She is currently working on a memoir-in-essays about discovering and owning your voice. Her work has been published in The Sunlight Press, The Mindful Word, Across the Margin, and in The Book of Hope anthology. She shares book reviews, love notes to coffee, and the occasional cute video of her son on her Instagram and blog.